Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting to learn about landscaping, you’re bound to run into mulch. And, while you may have made a trip or two to your local home improvement store for seeds, fertilizer or mulch, have you ever considered what mulch is?
Here we provide insights you can use while purchasing and using mulch, along with landscaping tips to freshen your yard. So, if you’re thinking about spreading mulch around your garden, you’ll be prepared to consider what type of mulch is best for your yard and how the right formula can upgrade your landscaping.
Mulch 101: What is it? What’s it made of?
Mulch is considered to be any type of material that is spread over the soil as a covering. It is used to aid in soil richness, prevent erosion and add aesthetic charm, and it provides a multitude of gardening benefits that we’ll get to later. When shopping for mulch to lay in your yard, you’ll find two main categories: organic mulch and inorganic mulch.
Types of organic mulch include:
- Bark, shredded or chipped
- Grass clippings or leaves
Types of inorganic mulch include:
- Landscaping fabric
Why the type of mulch you use matters
Both organic and inorganic mulch have various benefits and downsides. And, depending on the type of yard work you plan to do, certain mulches may work better for you.
Typically, organic mulch is set apart from inorganic mulch due to its ability to add richness to the soil below it as the mulch decomposes. For this reason, organic mulch must be replaced over time. If you choose to use organic mulch, keep in mind that drier and woodier components will last longer in your garden.
Inorganic mulch, on the other hand, is great at holding in moisture and keeping out weeds. This type of mulch doesn’t need the continuous upkeep required by most organic mulches, but synthetic materials won’t add any fertility to the existing soil in your yard.
Mulch that helps prevent erosion
No matter what type of mulch you choose, it can provide a variety of functional benefits to your lawn.
Mulch ultimately improves your yard health by:
- Retaining moisture in the soil
- Keeping soil cool
- Suppressing weed growth
- Improving the ground quality
- Preventing erosion
Even when your yard doesn’t have much slope, water and wind can initiate erosion. By using preventative measures, like adding mulch to your landscaping, you can decrease the likelihood of erosion in your yard. Mulch helps to absorb the impact of raindrops before they even hit your landscaping, and mulch will endure any effects of weather before they impact the underlying yard.
Increase your curb appeal with mulch
In some cases, mulch can be used simply for aesthetic purposes. For example, rubber mulch can line the area around your backyard playground to create a unique visual contrast between the synthetic mulch and natural grass.
Additionally, hardwood mulch can add an interesting touch to any front yard garden. You can buy more than you need in the spring and then, when temperatures cool off and flowers begin to die off in the fall, you can completely cover your landscaped area. When mulch covers your gardening area, the soil beneath it does not freeze as deeply, as the mulch acts as a sort of insulation for the ground. As spring rolls around and snow disappears, you’ll want to remove excess mulch from around your flowers to give them the space they need to grow.
Time to mulch
Some landscaping trends come and go, but mulch will always remain a gardening and landscaping staple. From its functionality to its visual appeal, mulch is a universal way to upgrade your garden. Plus, the variety of organic and inorganic mulches provide homeowners with plenty of options to diversify the elements in their yards.
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