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Why use mulch?
One of the best things you can do for your garden and landscape is to spread a layer of mulch over exposed soil surfaces to save time and energy. Mulch will help you conserve water by retaining moisture in the soil. It additionally serves as a fantastic way to prevent weeds from growing in your beds.
Although it is one of the most commonly used mulches, it is also one of the cheapest. Although it is not the only source of bark, but undoubtedly the most common, is cedar bark. Shredded bark is also one of the most frequently chosen products for slopes because it breaks down a bit more slowly and holds up very well. Since it is most often a byproduct of the wood industry, this mulch is considered very environmentally friendly.
Types of mulch – chopped leaves:
People who dispose of a large amount of autumn leaves can use it well as a mulch to protect plants from winter. A few things that are beneficial about using leaves as mulch is that they break down in less than a year and provide nutrients to the plants. Just be sure to chop up the leaves before placing as whole leaves are not an effective mulch due to their tendency to matt.
Another organic and free mulch that you may have access to is grass clippings. Be sure to use it in pre-dried, thin layers to prevent rotting and reduce odors. Another significant feature of grass mulch is the supply of essential nitrogen nutrients to the soil.
Straw has also become a popular organic mulch option over the years. It decomposes more slowly than leaves or grass, and the golden shade is very attractive on the edge. However, you should keep one caveat in mind. There are often weed seeds mixed into the straw and you have to be careful not to create a bigger weed problem than you are trying to prevent.
Compost is another fantastic source of free mulch, if you decide to make your own compost pile. One of the best nutrient-rich mulches you can use is compost. In addition, with its dark color, it really highlights the plants very nicely.
Mulch made of pine straw or pine needles:
This mulch is often used around acid-loving plants and is another great organic option. It is additionally known as pine straw. Also due to the nature of the teat, it holds very well and breaks down relatively slowly. Acid-loving plants are usually rhododendrons, blueberries, azaleas and other conifers.
Pine bark nuggets mulch:
Because Pine Bark Nuggets tend to float and are easily washed away during periods of heavy rain. Therefore, do not use them on steep areas. They are available in different sizes and are slow to spoil. Smaller nuggets will break down faster than larger nuggets.
Wood chip mulch:
Wood chips can be another source of free mulch for you. You can get them from local tree trimming companies or chip them yourself. They are a good barrier against weeds and they decompose slowly. If you use fresh chips, they can take a fair amount of nitrogen from your soil and can also add acid to the soil, changing the pH of the soil.
Cocoa bean husks:
If you need one of the richest mulching materials, look to cocoa bean husks. However, it is one of the more expensive options. The qualities of this outstanding looking mulch are its deep, rich color, chocolate scent and very slow decomposition. Note that if the husks are ingested by dogs or cats, the husks may be poisonous.
Mulches of river stones and gravel:
Since rock materials do not break down, if this mulch is installed properly, it will never need to be replaced. The negatives include that no nutrients are added to the soil and perennials are difficult to divide.
Shredded rubber used as mulch
Not only does the use of recycled rubber keep this material out of landfills, but it also prevents the destruction of trees during its production. Shredded rubber mulch does not break down, so it will never need to be replaced. Other than that, it stays fantastic and retains its new color. Since it is quite heavy, it stays in place very well. Plus, you can spread it thinner (about 1.5 inches) as opposed to 3 inches for traditional mulch materials, because it doesn’t collapse or compact.
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