What Is Mulch?

What is Mulch

If you spend time searching for gardening tips, you will probably notice a lot of recommendations for mulch. There are many reasons to add mulch to your flower beds and yard. Before you buy a few bags for your home, you need to know a few things about this essential element of outdoor gardening.

What Is Mulch?

Mulch is a board term. It usually covers any material that is spread over the surface of the soil as a covering. Mulch can include materials like grass clippings, compost, leaves, peat moss, and wood chips. In some cases, people will use other non-compostable materials, such as gravel, glass, and rubber. Mulch is used to help keep in the moisture in the soil, cool down the ground, suppress weeds, and add an attractive appearance to your flower beds. In addition to that, organic mulches can improve the soil’s fertility.

Organic Mulches

Organic mulch is one type of mulch. It will decompose and need to be replaced. However, it is the best choice for those who want to improve the organic content and fertility of the soil. Compost, straw, and manure is a good choice, but you should know its origins. You don’t want to use mulch that can contain weed seeds and start to sprout in your yard.

Bark is a popular choice for many homeowners. It is best used around shrubs, trees, and garden beds. Bark lasts longer than other organic mulches, but it doesn’t provide many nutrients to the soil. Compost can be used all around your property. Many people add a layer of compost to flower beds to give the soil a nutrient boost during the growing season. You can make compost at home by combining grass clippings, food scraps, and other organic materials in a bin.

For those with vegetable gardens, you might want to use salt hay or straw for your mulch. It can keep the soil from splashing on plant leaves and creating muddy pathways. During the growing season, the straw also decomposes very slowly, and it will usually last throughout the summer months. Spiders love straw, and they will often take up residence to control the insect population. Straw is also easy to maintain. All you need to do is rake up the excess at the end of the season.

If you are looking for another way to mulch, you should think about adding shredded leaves throughout your yard. These leaves can be used anywhere, and they are pretty much cost-free. In addition to that, you can help to entice earthworms to your soil. Shredded mulch might not be aesthetically appealing for a formal setting though. For a woodland garden, it can be a great alternative to those mulches that you buy in a bag.

You wouldn’t usually think about it, but newspaper is another type of mulch gaining in popularity. Many papers have switched to organic dyes. These mulches also help to retain moisture in the soil and suppress weeds in your gardens. If you are looking to start a new flower bed, the newspaper will help keep those plant roots moist as they take to the soil.

Inorganic Mulches

If you are looking for mulch that can block weeds and hold moisture, then you might want to choose a synthetic or inorganic product. These mulches do not decompose, and you won’t need to replace them as much as an organic product. There are many types of inorganic materials that you can use throughout your yard.

For foundation plantings, you will want to use landscape and plastic fabric. With these materials, you don’t have to worry about weeding your garden beds throughout the summer. However, plastic can get very hot. In some circumstances, it can kill plant roots without the proper moisture. You should cut a hole in the fabric to allow for the water to pass through it.

Stone and gravel are popular choices for inorganic mulches. These mulches are excellent for areas that need good drainage. For those with rain or herb gardens, you might need extra heat for the plants. In those cases, these materials are a perfect choice for you. Before you place stone or gravel in your yard, remember that these materials can be hard to remove. You should decide on the right location to avoid moving it in the future.

Uses of Mulch

Many people use mulch to spruce up the look of their yard and flower beds. Mulch can help to limit weed growth and cover up those bare areas in your yard. It can even help the environment by encouraging worms to reside in the soil. If you are looking to keep up a cleaner appearance, you might want to use a mulch to reduce mud around your plants and walkways. Mulch will also help with protecting your plants’ root system and reduce excess dust.

You can place mulch pretty much anywhere in your yard. Many people spread mulch throughout the garden and near the base of plants and trees. You can even use mulch as a general ground cover or as a top dressing for your container plants. For many people, you want to add mulch to any place where you need to retain moisture, limit weed growth, and cover the soil. When adding mulch, make sure to keep the mulch a few inches away from the truck or plant base. You want to stop any root rot and give your plants some breathing room.

The Best Time to Add Mulch

Depending on your climate, you need to check when to add mulch to your yard. In some warmer climates, mulch can be added throughout the year. For most people, mulching can be done in the spring and fall. A fall mulch can help your plants to regulate soil temperature and protect roots as the temperature starts to drop.

There are so many benefits of adding mulch to your yard. For healthier flower beds and gardens, you will want to add this critical element to your gardening routine. Charlestown Landscaping can help you find the best mulches to keep your outdoor spaces looking great. For more information feel free to give us a call or fill out our contact form.

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