Tuesday, July 26
From the Ground Up- Understanding Mulch
Mulch is an important ingredient in beautiful gardens for more than just its looks. It serves many practical purposes, multitasking as a problem solver. Although many people don’t realize it, understanding mulch is very simple and easy to install.
It provides superior weed control. It reduces weed germination and growth.
It conserves water. Mulch helps to retain the moisture in the ground.
It controls the ground temperature. In the summer, it keeps the ground cooler. In the winter, it can provide insulation for freezing weather and prevent frost heave.
It helps control erosion. Mulch is one way to keep topsoil from washing away.
It provides a polished look. Adding mulch can make an average garden look exceptional.
Types of Mulch:
Gravel looks very clean and tidy. It won’t wash away and will last forever. Weeds can penetrate through gravel, so some type of weed barrier would be helpful.
Wood chips or bark is a traditional mulch material. It is probably the most attractive type and lends a landscape a finished look. It is slow to decay and does an excellent job of blocking weeds.
Straw may be free and plentiful, but it is not the best choice for mulch. Since it is so light, it will easily blow away. It also encourages weed growth and doesn’t look very nice.
Recycled rubber is growing in popularity. It is available in a wide variety of colors. Some even look like wood mulch. It tends to be a little more expensive and smells strong. It is long lasting.
Peat Moss is probably the healthiest choice for the soil. It looks nice and tidy but is costly. It also does not wear very well, becoming crusty over time. Care must be taken to ensure that it doesn’t become too dry or else it will repel water.
Choosing what type of mulch you want for your garden depends on what the purpose is. If the main goal is looks, then choose based on what is personally appealing. If the mulch needs to serve a practical purpose, choose the one that does the job that it needs to. Regardless of what type of mulch is used, weed barrier underneath the mulch can take a load off garden maintenance. This also helps to increase the moisture retained in the soil.