Mulching: Our guide to choosing the right mulch for your yard
At any landscaping yard or garden centre you are guaranteed to find a section with different types of mulch. When landscaping or trying to grow a garden, sometimes it is not enough just to use soil. If you think about how things grow in nature, there is always a layer of natural mulch made up of fallen leaves, twigs, and bark across the forest floor; feeding and protecting the earth beneath. This natural mulch serves an important function, which is why mulching your own garden is extremely important if you want your plants to go the distance.
Mulching your garden offers up a number of benefits. The number one benefit to your soil and plants is that mulch has excellent water retention properties. It protects your top soil from drying out, keeps your soil moist by limiting evaporation and keeps the temperature of your soil consistent.
Mulching each year before the dry season is also a great way to combat weeds as your mulch will block their access to the sun and stop them from breaking through the surface. This will also benefit your other plants as they will not be competing for resources. Another extra benefit of mulch is that it adds extra organic matter to your soil, feeding your plants over a long period of time—much like a natural mulch does in nature.
When to mulch?
You can apply mulch in your yard at any time throughout the year, but prime time is just before the dry season starts, so the end of winter or early spring if needed. Your application may vary depending on the state you live in and how quickly the dry season rolls in.
What to consider when buying:
- Style: When buying a mulch for your garden it is important to consider its visual appeal; especially if you are using it as a decorative ground cover rather than using it to feed you plants. Mulch now comes in a number of different styles and shades including red, black, silver, and natural brown.
- Plant size: If you are using a mulch to feed your plants the general rule is the smaller the plants, the finer the mulch.
- Location: It is important to keep in mind where you are planning on mulching. If your garden bed or mulching area is on a slope, a heavier mulch might be needed. If you garden bed sits against a timber fence or is close to your house, a termite resistant mulch would be the best option.
- Climate: If you live in a location where wind or run off seem to be issues it is important to look for a mulch or even a bark that is going to be able to withstand these conditions.
What is your purpose for buying mulch?
The biggest factor to consider when choosing your mulch is what purpose it will serve. When it comes to mulch, there are two main categories: organic mulches and inorganic mulches. Your organic mulches are blended to feed your plants and break down in your soil. These mulches are good for raised garden beds and pots. If you are looking for a decorative mulch that you want to maintain it’s colour and work as a ground cover; you will be looking for something with the opposite properties. To decorate your garden, you want a mulch that will last and not break down quickly. Decorative mulches are still great for keeping the weeds at bay and retaining moisture, they just won’t feed your plant as rapidly as an organic mulch.
If mulch had a resume then this would be it! But if you’re still wanting more than we totally understand. That’s what our product info page is for! Perhaps you are hanging out to know what soil to use for your next garden project? Keep tabs on our how to page to find helpful blog posts like this and more. And if there’s anything else, remember you can contact the expert team at Rock n Soil any time!