My Garden Zone Is
Mulch For Landscaping
One of the essential things any gardener can do is mulch their plants. The right amount of mulch conserves soil moisture while still allowing air to percolate through to the soil. It also insulates plant roots, so they remain at a more consistent temperature — and that’s much healthier for the plant. Mulch can also mean the difference between life and death in the middle of a cold winter or a hot, dry summer. Mulch is vital for every garden.
What is organic mulch?
When you’re deciding on a type of mulch for your garden, you’ve got two main choices: organic mulch or inorganic mulch.
All mulch is designed to be laid down on the soil surface. It can be used be for purely decorative purposes, or it can be used to prevent evaporation of water from the soil, provide plants and beneficial soil microorganisms with nutrition and insulate the soil from sudden temperature changes.
Organic mulch is any mulch material that was once a living thing. This includes content from trees (e.g., wood chips), straw and hay, and processed plant material (e.g., paper and cardboard).
Inorganic mulch is composed of materials that have never been alive, such as pebbles and plastic, artificial mulch.
Why should you use organic mulch?
Because inorganic mulch doesn’t break down (or at least it breaks down very very slowly), it cannot provide any nutrition to the plants it protects. Nor can it feed soil microorganisms (at least not to any significant degree).
Organic mulch, on the other hand, offers a vast range of benefits:
it can look great
it breaks down over time to provide nutrients for the plants it insulates and protects
it seems natural
it breaks down over time to feed the critical beneficial microorganisms that live in and on the soil and which are so vital for good plant health
it improves soil structure as it breaks down
it won’t release harmful chemicals into your soil