August 25, 2017
Mulching is a landscaping essential. Why? It protects your plants and soil by acting like a barrier. Of course, as with anything, it comes with some disadvantages, too. The type of mulching you do, how much you should use, and where you mulch – depend a lot on you and your yard’s needs. Here is what you need to know.
Types of Mulch
Mulch comes in a variety of types, colors, and even sizes. Some examples of mulch include: bark, lava rock, pea gravel, quartz gravel, granite mulch, and river rock.
Most types of mulch are effective weed barriers. On average, you’ll see 50 percent less weeds in your flower gardens after applying mulch. Mulch also helps to reduce soil erosion. Regardless of what kind of mulch you decide to use, it’s a great idea to mulch your plants in the fall to protect them from colder temperatures, as it is as an excellent cover.
Tree bark mulch
- Some studies show that organic mulch can help plants and trees grow.
- Any type of mulch helps retain moisture, and prevent water evaporation. Bark mulch is even more effective, because it soaks up the water and retains it, watering your plants over time (and helping to cut down that water bill.)
- Act as a fertilizer- as organic mulch degrades, it enriches plants and nourishes them for further growth.
- It helps to keep your plants protected from both heat and cold during extreme seasonal temperatures.
- It can be used as an edging.
- You have to replace it regularly- meaning more work and cost. Typically, you’ll replace it once every four years.
- If you overuse mulch it can damage your plants. Apply only a thin layer, and don’t place too close to plant roots.
- If you mulch too early in the season your plants may bloom later, because it will keep the ground from warming at the regular time.
- If you mulch too late in the season it won’t be as effective at keeping the weeds away.
- The color will most likely start out very bright, but will fade over time.
- If you live in an area prone to high winds, or flood, it may get blown and/or washed away.
- There is literally no maintenance to rock once you have it placed.
- In the long run, rock is less expensive since it is typically a one-time investment that doesn’t require replacement.
- Rocks are safer to have on your property, because they are fire-proof and won’t spread wildfires.
- There are so many different rock types, colors, shapes, and sizes- rocks diversity leaves you with plenty of customizable options for your landscape.
- Rocks attract heat, which means that during the summer months they will increase soil temperature and make your plants require more water.
- Rocks aren’t ideal for trees, because they change the soil to alkaline and trees thrive best with acidic soil.
- If you live in a windy area, rocks might move and expose soil, inviting weeds to grow back.
- It is more difficult to install.
- It is harder to clean debris off of rock.
- It can be difficult to add more plants to your landscape once rock mulch has been placed.
- If you want to add more rocks later, there is no guarantee that the quarry your rocks came from will still have the same rocks available.
Visit a Landscape Center near you for help deciding what mulch option will work best for your landscape.