Using cedar mulch in your garden landscaping can help you make your yard look tidy and well-tended. But to stop here does mulch a disservice. By adding mulch to your garden, you'll reduce the amount of weeds in your yard and the amount of work you'll have to do to keep your yard looking great. Cedar mulch may also provide you with some protection against ants and termites. Read on to find out more about how to use this mulch in your yard.
Cedar mulch is made up of wood byproducts, such as wood left over from making roof shingles or building materials. The wood is ground into the desired consistency, and is sometimes dyed so that it achieves a uniform color. The dye won't wash off in the rain, as it's applied in such a way to ensure that it will stay brightly colored for the growing season. Cedar mulch is considered reasonably priced. It's made of byproduct, so few original raw materials are needed to make it. Some cedar mulch manufacturers offer a product made only of cedar wood, while others sprinkle cedar wood in with other varieties of wood.
Mulch is often available in large bags at gardening supply stores. Some manufacturers will deliver cedar mulch in large shipments directly to your driveway. You can then use your wheelbarrow to gather and disperse your mulch. Cedar mulch is typically applied by the shovelful, and looks particularly stunning when applied evenly, in all flowerbeds and covering all exposed areas of soil.
Most manufacturers suggest that you apply mulch in a 2-inch layer throughout your flowerbeds. Most mulch packages will specify how much square footage the bag is designed to cover, but watch those numbers closely. Some manufacturers base their packaging on a 4-inch-deep application, and that deep application might keep water from reaching your plants. Cedar mulch color is designed to last for one growing season, meaning that you'll need to freshen your mulch with new materials the following year. The mulch must be replaced, rather than dug into the soil, at the end of its useful life. Cedar mulch uses nitrogen to decompose, which can lead to nitrogen deficiencies in your soil. Most plants require nitrogen in order to grow and stay healthy.
Cedar mulch, when applied in a thick layer, blocks weeds from reaching the sunlight. This can keep your plants healthier, as they're not competing with weeds for water and nutrients. You can use cedar mulch liberally throughout your flowerbeds. Weed thoroughly before you apply the much. You can still apply fertilizer to your plants, even when the mulch is applied to the bed. Simply use a small trowel to remove the mulch from the base of the plant, apply the fertilizer, and put the mulch back. Cedar mulch is highly prized by flower gardeners as it prevents weeds from growing, is easy to move aside and it doesn't radiate heat onto fragile plants, as many rock-based covers will do. Some claim that cedar mulch isn't safe to use for plants, since cedar has some properties that can repel insects and weeds. In fact, cedar mulch doesn't alter the way that plants germinate and grow. It also doesn't significantly alter the pH of the soil. This means cedar mulch is safe to use in flowerbeds.
As mentioned, cedar mulch shouldn't be tilled directly into the soil at the end of the growing season. This isn't a concern for flowerbeds, as it's unusual for gardeners to completely tear out and replace all of the plants in their flowerbeds each year. For flower gardeners, a dusting of new mulch applied every year can keep previous layers looking fresh and colorful. For gardeners, this step isn't quite plausible and some find removing the mulch year after year to be a troublesome step to take at the end of a long growing season. They might rather use a form of mulch such as compost that can be tilled directly into the soil at the end of the season.
Cedar mulch has a distinctive, fresh scent familiar to anyone who owns a cedar chest. Insects such as ants and termites do not like this scent, and they may avoid areas containing cedar mulch. This makes cedar mulch an ideal addition for flowerbeds that encircle eating areas, decks and walkways. The insects will steer clear of the built structures, while you'll be able to enjoy the fresh scent of cedar wafting through the air.