Mulch not only improves the look of your landscape, but it also is good for your plants and soil. It helps to maintain a consistent soil temperature, slows evaporation during the hot summer months, and reduces weed growth. Vegetable gardens may do better with a more dense material, while your shrubs will do fine with wood chips. Wood-based mulch breaks down over time and therefore must be reapplied. It does release nutrients into the soil as it breaks down, however, so it is good for your plants and the soil. Consider your time, budget, and reason for needing this ground covering before you buy. |
- Shredded bark is a very common and inexpensive choice. It can come from many different sources, including cedar and oak trees. It is useful on sloped areas, which makes it great in areas that need erosion control. It breaks down easily, meaning you do not have to reapply as often as other types. This type, however, can take nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes. You may want to add some organic fertilizer to the soil where you place the shredded bark in order to keep your plants healthy. - Wood chips are widely used by businesses and municipalities, and are available in pine, cedar, cypress, and other hardwoods. Wood chips are one of the best types you can use for trees and shrubs, but not as helpful for annual plants or vegetables. They are good for maintaining moisture and soil temperatures, as well as controlling weeds. Like shredded bark, this type of mulch can also take necessary nitrogen from the soil, so you should add fertilizer to the soil to compensate. Wood chips tend to weather and fade more easily, changing to a gray, silver color, requiring more frequent application.
- Pine bark nuggets do not break down as quickly as shredded bark, but when they do, they provide rich organic material to the soil. This type of ground covering does not stay put very well, so it is not very effective on slopes or areas where heavy rain may wash it away. Because it is longer lasting, you won't have to reapply as often throughout the year. You can purchase the nuggets in different sizes, with the larger sizes lasting longer than the smaller sizes.
Many mulch types can be colored to add a more decorative touch to your landscape. An environmentally friendly colorant is used to make red, brown and black.
When considering mulch for your landscape, consider the important factors to you. Talk with a gardening professional about your plant areas, soil conditions, and budget. Someone experienced with the climate conditions in your area can help you make a good choice for your needs.
To learn more about their options for mulch, PA residents should visit http://www.brittonindustries.com/Mulch-s/12.htm.
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