Landscaping can be a tricky business. If you want your landscaping to look green, lush, and healthy all year round, there’s no shortage of options when it comes to mulch. While there are several factors to consider when choosing the right type of mulch, you’ll be able to achieve just what you want if you keep these things in mind.
What is Landscape Mulch?
Landscape mulch is material that is spread over the surface of the ground in a garden or similar outdoor space. It is usually organic, often made from shredded bark, leaves, grass clippings, or wood chips. The purpose of landscape mulch is to suppress weed growth and reduce evaporation while providing a visually appealing surface that reduces soil compaction and provides a habitat for small animals such as birds. There are many types of landscape mulches available at home improvement stores, nurseries, and mulch spreading service near Lynnwood WA. Types include hardwood mulch, softwood mulch, cypress mulch, pine straw, and rock wool. Hardwood mulch typically has a finer texture than softwood; this type of mulch works well for high-traffic areas because it does not mat down as easily. Softwoods make good filling between plant beds and around plants because it’s less messy.
Mulching is a great way to protect the soil from drying out and becoming susceptible to weed growth. It also has the added benefit of adding nutrients back into the soil, which will help keep your plants looking healthy for much longer periods. Mulching around delicate plants like roses can provide extra protection by deterring pesky critters like rabbits who may be after their leaves or petals.
Some types of mulches that are often used in landscaping include bark mulch, composted wood chips, shredded leaves, pine needles, rice hulls, or straws.
Choosing the type of mulch you need depends on what your needs are as well as how big an area you have available to use it on.
Types of Landscape Mulch
Many different types of mulches can be used for landscaping, but knowing about the differences between them will help you decide which is best for you. Choosing a type of mulch is largely dependent on the climate, the age and size of the tree or shrub, and what other plants are in the landscape. Here are some popular types.
These are made from small pieces of wood that have been ground into small pieces by a chipper machine. They are often dyed brown to provide a natural-looking appearance. Wood chips are an excellent choice for landscaping because they do not pack down as easily as other forms of mulch, so they need to be replenished less frequently.
The same great fertilizer found in your lawn also makes grass clippings a great option for mulching. Grass clippings decompose quickly, so you don’t want to leave it out too long before raking up the leaves and reapplying new layers of mulch around the base of trees and shrubs.
These leaves break down slowly like grass clippings, but they may have more weed seeds mixed within them. If you’re not concerned with weeds, then this might be a good option. Again, make sure to rake up the old leaves and apply fresh mulch each year.
Pine needles are full of tannins that leach into the soil. These tannins protect against both fungi and bacterial infections, making pine needle mulch an excellent choice for any plant struggling with disease problems. It breaks down very slowly, so you don’t need to worry about applying more every year unless it’s needed.
Manure is another excellent organic material that provides nutrients to the soil while providing organic matter. With manure, though, there is always the potential for unpleasant odors. That’s why we recommend using only dry manures if possible, such as hay or straw bedding. You’ll also want to monitor manure closely during rainy periods since water helps spread unpleasant odors. Compost is also rich in nitrogen and minerals, making it another viable option. But compost takes longer to break down than other organic materials, so you’ll have to plan ahead when adding composted materials under trees or shrubs that are already established. We recommend alternating between compost and organic mulches so there’s enough time for one to break down before the next needs to be applied.
As an added benefit, seaweed also adds essential trace minerals and salt to help plants better handle drought conditions. The downside is that it takes a long time for seaweed mulch to decompose compared to other organic mulches. Seaweed mulch should be replaced at least once a year, and it is recommended to alternate between seaweed mulch and other organic materials.