It’s sold in bags at the gas station or grocery store.  It’s sold at box stores.  It’s sold in bulk at lumber yards and landscape companies.  There are all different kinds of mulches available.  Bark chunks, shredded hardwood, double shredded, chipped and dyed mulches are available in different colors, and let’s not forget arborists chips that are available for free in many areas. 

Why mulch? 

Plants benefit greatly from a layer of mulch over the roots of new and existing plants.  Arborist wood chips are preferred because not only does it help retain moisture, but it actually absorbs moisture and helps to prevent runoff and the water ends soaking into the soil.

Mulch applied to the soil surface helps to moderate the temperature keeping it cooler during the hottest times of the season and of course holding the heat a bit when the temperatures dip.  Mulch applications are excellent for new plantings in the fall as it will encourage new roots to develop later in the season in colder regions. 

Let’s not forget that applying mulch to the soil surface around your plants will prevent weed from germinating.  Less chemical use and less physical weeding it not only better for the plants but saves you time and money.  As soon as you have your plants installed and you have bare soil, if you cover that bare soil with about 4-6 inches thick you won’t see any weeds.  Remember that you should never pile any mulch up against the trunks of trees or stems of the plants. 

Remember that mulch put around your ornamentals will keep your plant cleaner from the mud from splashing up on the plants preventing soil borne fungus like black spot, mildew and rust on plants that are susceptible.  That alone is an incredible reason alone to make sure you get your mulch around your plants. 

Applying mulch over the soil around your landscape plants really adds the finishing touch.  It ties the whole landscape together.  It really completes the look that we all love.  

There are other options available when it comes to mulching plant materials.   Many times in commercial landscapes smaller rock or stones are used in various colors.  Most of the stone mulches are applied with a landscape fabric or plastic beneath and some type of edging to keep the stone confined to the beds.  Stone is not always the best for plants as the stone heats up and hold heat in colder climates and may mess up the plants going dormant in winter or heating up causing them to start growing.  Some commercial landscapes use a mix of stones or gravel in some areas and chipped or shredded wood mulch closest to the plants for an interesting mix. 

Some mulches being sold are actually chipped up rubber tires that may be dyed various colors.  This mulch will not decompose but they may be extremely flammable so be careful using a rubber product. 

There are wood mulches that are options.  Bark chunks do not absorb the water and can easily move from the area that you want to keep them.  Chipped and dyed mulches are many times used for those that want a red, brown, yellow or other colors showing up in landscapes too.  Many landscape companies use shredded hardwood mulches. 

The interesting thing is the arborists wood chips that chips needles, leaves, stems, twigs, branches and whatever else that gets chipped up is one of the best mulches you can use – and best of all it most communities it is free!  There is even a website you can check out to see if they do free arborist wood chip drop right to your door locally.  Check out here:  https://getchipdrop.com/

Help to keep your landscape plants weed free with fewer chemicals, stress free with better moisture retention, and reduce the runoff from your property. 

Happy mulching!