The Best Types of Mulch for Your Garden

Updated: 3/15/2021

Many products can be used around the home to increase curb appeal and make your home look its best. In landscapes, wood chips are commonly used as mulch and coverings for flower beds and around trees and other plantings. Some homeowners choose to make their own mulch by grinding and mulching up sticks and yard debris themselves. Others choose to buy pine bark mulch and cypress mulch from the story and use that in their gardens and flower beds. For homes that want and need a clearer and more manicured look, new composite mulch options are available that offer greater versatility as well as a cleaner and neater look.

There are even a number of decorative bark mulch types that can be purchased from some yard and garden shops. The bottom line is you may want to buy or rent a mulcher of your own to gain optimal control over what mulching options you have available. However, there are many safe, affordable, and environmentally sound options you can easily purchase as well. Ultimately, the choice is up to you for what mulch you decide is right for your home and yard.

When many people begin to garden, one of the first questions they ask is often “Do I need mulch?” The short answer is “not really,” but if you want to help your plants to be at their healthiest, you may want to take another look at mulch. Mulch is used to fertilize soil and prevent the growth of harmful weeds. It also gives gardens an organized, unified appearance.

For vegetable gardens, where you will be frequently working in the soil, you want to use smaller mulch materials that will decompose quickly. While you can use specifically cultivated organic compost for gardening, many of the best mulches will compost on their own as they decay. Shredded leaves, grass clippings, and pine needles are all popular mulches for vegetable gardens. They are often free to obtain and easy to spread, and pine needles have the added bonus of smelling nice. Of course, leaves and pine needles can mat together, blocking water from reaching the soil. Make sure you apply mulch made of leaves and pine needles lightly, only adding more as needed. Straw is a nice mulch option that does not mat down, but it can become a shelter for slugs if it is allowed to become wet and decay.

When it comes to flower gardening, many mulch options are aimed toward being aesthetically pleasing and working with the existing landscaping designs. Ground or chipped bark is an extremely popular choice for mulching around trees and in flower beds, as it covers the ground in a uniform manner, and the larger pieces allow air and water to reach the soil. Wood chips are another popular choice, but there are a few things to consider with wood chips. Using wood made from recycled pallets in inadvisable, as it may be contaminated from its previous industrial purpose. You will also want to keep wood chips away from your house, as they can house termites and other pests.

These are only a few of the mulch options available to gardeners today. When used in combination with compost, mulch can greatly benefit the soil and plants to which it is applied. While not all gardeners may find that mulch fits in with their lifestyle, mulch is extremely versatile, and many people find a type to fit their gardening needs. Reference materials.

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