WHICH MULCH IS RIGHT FOR MY GARDEN? – It is common knowledge to the keen gardening enthusiast that mulch is beneficial to the soil and plants in your garden as well as providing pleasing aesthetics. However, it is not so common knowledge that there are a wide variety of different types of mulch that should be used in different ways to benefit your garden the most. Whether it is for visual aesthetics, nutrition for your plants and soil or even a bit of both, following this guide will help explain which type of mulch is right for you.
One of the most common types of mulch for your garden is bark mulch. Obviously made from tree bark, this offers any gardener with a both a combination of a visually pleasing addition to your garden beds as well as an effective way of feeding your plants and shrubs constant nutrients to help support its growth. Often much more solid and robust than other forms of mulch such as leaf mulch, this prevents it from breaking down as quickly and therefore offers you with a great alternative that can be used for a number of different purposes. To line a flower bed and protect the roots, feed both your soil and plant roots with a constant supply of nutrients as well as acting as a great water retainer and finally, acting as a great substitute for gravel on pathways.
Commonly made from cedar and pine woods, it is easy to understand why this universal option is the most popular bark mulch option. It also comes in a variety of styles and colours which enables it to fit in almost any style of garden without looking out of place.
They do however come in both organic and inorganic forms to offer a wide range of usability. The inorganic form will offer you less nutrients as well as being more acidic which can be damaging to your plants but they do tend to last longer due to the treatments that they undergo. Organic mulch on the other hand will offer you much more nutrients to your plants and look more natural but in turn, will not last as long.
Leaf and Grass Mulch
This alternative is also a very common type of mulch purely due to its availability. This option is more than often free and can be made by collecting leaves from around your property and any loose grass you may have. Simply running over it in your lawn mower will provide you with a perfectly adequate source of shredded mulch and can be added to your soil easily. Rather than laying it on top of your garden bed though like bark, it is better to mix this in with your soil to avoid it being blown away. This will then provide your soil and plants with a supply of nutrients that only need topping up every few weeks.
When using this method though, it is important to make sure that the grass and leaves you use are free of pesticides as this can have a negative effect on your garden. Grass and leaf mulch however is perfect for your vegetable patch in particular as it provides your vegetables with the most organic and natural source of nutrients possible.
This source of mulch is what many gardeners prefer to use on their gardens as it is both made from and used for plants and soil in your own garden. The process of compost involves leaving any grass, leaves, soil and cuttings to decay over a period of time and form what ends up being compost. Perfect for any form of flower bed or vegetable patch, this provides your plants and shrubs with a perfect amount of nutrients to both the plant root and soil. However, this offers no visual effect as it blends in with the soil and quickly breaks down so if you are wanting to achieve aesthetics from your mulch as well, it may be worth using bark mulch instead of or as well as.
This and grass/leaf mulches are the cheapest option for your garden so if you are wanting to improve the growth of your plants only, without altering the look of your garden, either of these two options may be the best choice for you. If you are wanting visuals though as well as nutrients for your plants, the bark mulch is a better alternative at a slightly higher cost.