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The Pros And Cons Of Different Mulches

The Pros And Cons Of Different Mulches

Are you wondering what the best mulch material is? It is one that suits your needs in terms of aesthetics and most importantly, functionality. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to mulching materials. As we shall see, every type of mulch has its benefits and drawbacks. Some are suitable for particular situations than others. Whatever the case, you should mulch your garden.

Mulching is not about beautifying a garden. Yes, it is visually attractive and a very crucial part of landscaping.  It also helps to preserve moisture and control weed growth. Almost all mulching materials are effective. Let’s find out if garden bark mulch is better than other commonly used mulches.

Bark Nugget Mulch

Pine bark mulches are very easy to apply. They are available in different sizes and grades from jumbo nuggets to mini nuggets. Did you know that most soil conditioners are made of pine bark products which are very small in size and may also be used to mulch a garden? Pine bark is very durable and once it disintegrates, it fertilizes the soil with organic matter. When it rains heavily, the bark chip mulch may float and spread. It can even be washed away, requiring you to replace it immediately. So, the bark mulch may not be suitable for areas that experience floods.

Shredded Hardwood Mulch

Wood chip mulch has the same qualities as bark nuggets but it hardly gets carried away by heavy rainfall. It is basically a byproduct of paper and timber industries. It is comparably more durable and spreads so easily. When hardwood decomposes, it enriches the soil with alkalinity so you must consider this factor if you are mulching your acid-loving crops. You might want to add acidic fertilizers to reduce the pH. Over time, the wood mulch becomes compact and may block water and nutrients from seeping through the soil.

Pine needles/straw

Pine straw is very light and naturally attractive. It is also acidic because the needles decompose easily. It is perfect for acid-loving crops e.g. rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias. Despite their lightweight characteristic, they remain intact during heavy rains and so they are perfect choices for sloppy grounds. They are collected underneath pine forests. They are shed naturally and are renewable. When compared to other organic mulches, pine needles decompose slowly and it takes a lot of efforts to tidy them up.  With time, they become decolorized and lose their original aesthetic appeal. Lastly, they are available in bale sizes and you might need to separate them from leaves and other forest trash.

Colored Wood Mulch

This type of mulch is derived from recycled woods that contain unpleasant additives, e.g., arsenic from wood that has been pressure-treated. These are not pure hardwoods. Pressure-treated woods are not environmentally friendly. If you must use colored wood mulches, ensure that it is from a manufacturer that deals with pure lumber and not recycled wood. Dyes are safe but do not allow the mulch to come into contact with other wooden elements in your property. Termites might invade your entire home if you aren’t careful.

Compost and Manure

These organic materials add nutrients and their organic matter improves soil structure as well as the water-holding capabilities. They are however not good at controlling weed like black wood mulch. So you might want to use herbicides. Compost and manure are rarely used alone. They go hand in hand with fabric barriers to enhance weed control. You can also add other types of mulches if you want to improve the aesthetic appeal. A double barrier is great at discouraging weed growth but it can prevent organic matter from reaching the soil when the mulch decomposes. Eventually, what you get is a layer of dirt at the top of the fabric material which must be eliminated occasionally. Weeds may actually grow on this dirty layer.

Shredded Rubber Mulch

This is a rare type of mulch due to its high cost. It never breaks down and you can have it as a permanent mulching solution. Its color can stay unchanged for years, unlike other mulches. Nonetheless, rubber mulch is cumbersome to transport and has no benefits for the soil. Moreover, its odor is a bit unpleasant and lingers for a long time after installation. The best place to install rubber mulch is in playgrounds as it doesn’t cause splinters. It also absorbs impact thereby preventing falls.

There are a number of materials you must not use to mulch your garden e.g. wood shavings, sawdust, and premature wood chips. These materials take up huge amounts of nitrogen thereby depriving your plants of an essential micronutrient. Instead, opt for commercially manufactured woods which have aged.

Author Bio:

Ron Olive is business and marketing specialist. He has done many jobs in the marketing field also good for online and offline marketing. He is currently joining double glazing Acton company as a marketing manager. Ron love marketing works and does more struggle in his field to become more professional and expert.