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Mulch For The Garden – Learn About The Benefits Of Using Mulch

Mulch For The Garden – Learn About The Benefits Of Using Mulch


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By: Susan Patterson, Master Gardener

Gardens take on many shapes, sizes and characteristics. Flower gardens add aesthetic appeal to any property and range from simple to elaborate. Vegetable gardens, which can be very attractive in their own right, are regaining popularity with increasing food prices. All gardens, whether they are flower or vegetable, benefit from the use of mulch.

Types of Mulch for the Garden

There is a wide variety of mulch types available, which can be broken down into two large groups: organic and inorganic.

  • Organic – Organic, or natural mulches, include such things as hardwood chips, pine straw, grass clippings and crushed leaves.
  • Inorganic -Inorganic, or synthetic mulches, include pebbles, crushed rock, plastic or rubber mats or chips.

Organic mulch tends to cost less than synthetic mulch but has to be replaced more frequently due to deterioration.

Benefits of Using Mulch

There are many advantages of adding mulch to a garden area, besides making the garden more attractive and finished looking. These include:

  • One of the best benefits of any mulch is its ability to retain moisture in the soil.
  • Organic mulches break down over time and contribute to soil health. This can be very helpful, especially if your soil fertility is poor.
  • Mulch reduces winter injury and helps with weed control.
  • Other garden mulch benefits include protection from erosion and protection from mechanical injury from weed eaters and lawnmowers.
  • Some mulch types, such as cypress, cedar or pinewood chips, do an excellent job of repelling ticks, gnats and fleas.

Choosing the Best Mulch

The best mulch for your garden depends on a number of things, including personal preference and budget. If you are interested in improving your soil fertility, choose organic mulch that suits your needs.

Gardeners wishing to keep their gardens completely organic should be careful when choosing natural mulch that contains dyes.

For gardeners with a large landscaped area that they do not want to fuss with, synthetic mulch maybe the best option.

This article was last updated on


10 Mulch Do's and Don’ts

Protect your plants and avoid top mulching mistakes by following these dos and don'ts.

Mulching Perennial Bed

To reduce weeds around plants and shrubs, apply a layer of bark or pine mulch around each one.

To reduce weeds around plants and shrubs, apply a layer of bark or pine mulch around each one.

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Making mistakes when mulching can keep your soil from reaping benefits such as conserving moisture, suppressing weeds, reducing erosion and decreasing water runoff. Landscape designers and researchers provided their best tips for making the most of mulch in your yard.


One of the easiest and fairly inexpensive things you can do to ease yard maintenance and encourage plant growth is spread mulch. Mulches are either organic or inorganic.

  • Organic mulches can be straw, bark, grass clippings and other biological debris. The common bark mulch comes in many colors and lasts for several years, while using grass clippings as a mulch will only persist for part of the year.
  • Inorganic mulch might be plastic sheeting, recycled tire mulch, gravel, and polypropylene fabric. These are durable materials which take a long time to break down but can also release gases and chemicals into the soil. A great deal of research should be done when using such products, especially in areas where you grow food.

Either type of mulch has a number of benefits, although taking the organic approach is by far the best option. Here are the top 5 benefits of garden mulch:

  • Conserving moisture
  • Keeping soil warm in winter and cooler in summer
  • Controlling weeds
  • Preventing erosion
  • Reducing soil borne diseases

Organic mulches have the added benefit of releasing nutrients to the soil as they break down.

The type of mulch you use is strictly up to you but when applying mulch in the garden, the amount to use should be 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm.). On trees with woody stems, keep the mulch 2 inches (5 cm.) away from the trunk. For large plants, spread mulch out to the ends of the root zone. For instance, on a large tree, that could be 3 to 6 feet (.91-1.8 m.) around the trunk. To overwinter plants, spread mulch over the crown after the plant has died back, but remember to pull it away in late winter to early spring, so new plant growth can sprout unimpeded.

Mulching can save time and reduce yard chores when done properly. It can also benefit plants in several ways. So, whether you go organic or not, try mulching and reduce some of your yard work headaches.


Cocoa shell mulch will break down slowly over time. As it decomposes, the mulch will add nutrients, including protein and nitrogen, to the soil. Some mulch made from bark actually takes nitrogen out of the soil, but cocoa shell mulch gives it back! Such a friendly mulch.

Lazy gardeners rejoice! Cocoa shell mulch helps your plants retain water, which means you’ll spend less time watering them. (And you’ll save on the water bill.) Besides that, cocoa shell mulch also insulates plants, which keeps them cool on hot days and warm on chilly ones.


A mulch is a layer of substance put on to the surface of soil. These substances can be a number of different materials, which are living plants or were once living plants that are positioned on the soil surface to prevent erosion, weed germination and reduce water evaporation.

Mulch comes in two categories, and you need mulch for several reasons. The two types of mulch are organic and inorganic mulch.

Tips for Applying Mulch

Mulch can be beneficial to any garden, if it is applied correctly. So here are some tips to take note of when taking advantage of the benefits of organic mulch.

  1. Do not place mulch directly against plant crowns or tree bases.
  2. Mulching too deeply can cause the soil to remain continuously wet contributing to root and stem rot.
  3. Yellowing of leaves often shows a nitrogen deficiency.
  4. Gently include a source of nitrogen such as urea or a high nitrogen lawn fertilizer before applying mulch.

How Much Mulch Should You Put Down?

If this is your first time laying down organic mulch in your garden, you should consider starting by spreading out 4-6 inches deep with a naturally sourced organic mulch, using something like arborist mulch. (Arborist mulch is created when wood chips are ground up when older trees are removed. They include both green parts which are the leaves and brown woody parts. They have some large and some small pieces. The mix of green and brown organic mulch is a good combination, because the green material will break down quickly to add nutrients to the soil immediately, leaving behind the brown woody parts which will break down more slowly.)

Why Should You Mulch Deep?

The reason to begin with putting the mulch so deep is because it will settle and decompose where it compresses over the first one to two months, and even more so if it is being walked on or driven over repeatedly.

Take note, that when adding new mulch over older mulch in your garden, then look to add a layer of 1-2 inches of average depth is fine.

If the old mulch is thin, like only 1-2 inches deep or less, then you should add more mulch from 2 to 4 inches so you have the weed barrier.

What are the Benefits of Organic Mulch?

Choosing the best mulch for your garden depends on personal preference and budget. Organic mulch gives nurturance to soil and plants mainly because it decomposes over time. They preserve water and protect from weed growth and assist in stopping soil erosion.

Organic mulch can also greatly improve the appearance of your landscape. One of the best benefits of any mulch is its ability to retain moisture in the soil and this keeps the soil cooler.

Organic mulches break down over time and contribute to soil health. This can be very helpful, especially if your soil fertility is poor. Mulch reduces winter injury and helps with weed control.

Protection from erosion and protection from mechanical injury from weed eaters and lawn mowers. Organic mulches will slowly decompose and release nutrients into the soil while improving the soil structure.

Organic mulch also increases the production and also quality fruits. Mulching increases the soil nutrients, maintains the best soil temperature. Organic matters are beneficial for the growth of earthworms and soil microorganisms. It is also food for these beneficial microorganisms. Organic mulches are available in farms. These are the crop residue of the cultivated crop plants leave compost and other organic materials.


Watch the video: One Mulch machine Vs four guys- Can it move Material as fast as they Claim?


Comments:

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