Mulch is an essential part of any successful garden or landscape. It helps your plants retain moisture, prevents weeds from growing, and adds a layer of protection for your topsoil. But what kind of mulch should you use? What does it do? Here is a breakdown of the different types of mulch and how each one can benefit your garden or landscape.
Organic vs Inorganic Mulch
The first thing to consider when deciding on which type of mulch to use is whether it’s organic or inorganic. Organic mulches are made from natural materials such as wood chips, bark, leaves, straw, hay, compost, grass clippings, pine needles, and shredded newspaper. These materials are biodegradable and help enrich the soil as they break down over time. Inorganic mulches are made from non-natural materials like rubber chips, plastic film, pebbles, rocks and glass beads. These materials do not degrade over time and can last much longer than organic options while still providing the same benefits.
Types of Organic Mulches
Wood Chip Mulch – Wood chip mulches are one of the most popular organic mulching options because they come in a wide variety of colors to choose from and provide excellent weed suppression. They also break down slowly over time so they don’t need to be replaced often. However, wood chip mulches can become matted down over time if not raked periodically and can attract termites if left in contact with the ground for too long.
Straw or Hay –
Straw or hay makes an excellent choice for vegetable gardens or flower beds since it breaks down quickly into nutrient-rich material that helps improve soil quality. The downside is that these organic materials can get moldy after heavy rains and need to be replaced more frequently than other types of organic mulches.
Compost is another great option for gardening because it provides all the same benefits as other organic mulches while also supplying beneficial nutrients to the soil as it breaks down over time. The downside is that compost needs to be replenished every year since it breaks down so quickly. If you decide to use compost as a mulching material keep in mind that it will need to be reapplied every spring before new plant growth begins for best results.
No matter what type of garden or landscape you have—commercial, residential, hardscape—mulching should always be part of your maintenance plan to ensure healthy soil conditions and protect your plants from weeds and pests. Whether you choose an organic option like wood chips or straw bales or an inorganic alternative like rubber chips or pebbles make sure that you select a product that fits both your budget and specific gardening needs for optimal results! With the right type of mulch selected you’ll have healthier plants all season long!