One of the best ways to ensure a healthy, well-manicured garden is to use the right type of mulch. To a green green-thumb, the world of mulch can seem daunting or unimportant, but the type of mulch you choose to use can have a major impact on the quality of your garden. Here’s a rundown of the basic types of mulch to keep in mind when shopping, ranging from wood chips to pine needles and even grass clippings. Remember, the mulch you pick can make all the difference in the long-term success of your gardening and landscaping!
This is perhaps one of, if not the most, popular type of mulch used in landscaping, as its benefits are numerous and it can help any garden grow to its full potential. However, when shopping, be sure to choose a supplier that adopts environmentally-friendly practices, as such high demand for this specific type of mulch has led to deforestation and the destruction of wetlands across the country. Provided your source is legitimate and eco-friendly, this may be the best option for you.
This type of combo mulch is very common, as it’s proven to be tougher and last longer than most other types of mulch. Also, this blend tends to be more aesthetically pleasing and aromatic and won’t break down as quickly as other kinds. An added benefit is that this type of mulch can be purchased at almost any garden supplier and sometimes even found for free, as this is the result of everyday landscaping.
While these elements may not look as nice as cypress mulch or wood chips, the do have their benefits for gardens that are more acidic or perennial. Best used in vegetable gardens, straw can help to delay soil decay, yet it also includes more weed seed that most ground coverings so less is more. For pine needles, a layer one or two inches thick is a great option for an area that includes mostly shrubs.
Perhaps the cheapest of mulches, as they are readily available, grass clippings can easily be left where they fall during lawn mowing to help put essential nutrients back into the surrounding soil. Be sure to use dried clippings as opposed to fresh clippings, as more moisture will only mat down the material and leave more opportunity for weed growth. Also, clippings tend to decompose very quickly and therefore your garden will need to be recovered often.
While definitely among the more unusual varieties of mulch, these two elements are easily found and have some great unique benefits. For a garden that is wrought with slugs, coffee grounds can help to eliminate these pesky intruders and help your flowers grow. As for cork, while its cost is slightly high, it rates very well on weed control, water penetration, and moisture retention, not to mention its resistance to decomposition and lack of odor.
Low-maintenance and effective, using traditional landscaping fabric or perennial ground coverings are great ways to cover your garden’s soil, both acting in place of standard mulch. Plants such as periwinkle or ivy work well to cover large areas and landscaping fabric is often used by professional landscapers to eliminate most weed growth.