If you are into gardening and looking after your lawn, then you must have heard about mulch; upon hearing it, you must have wondered “what is mulch?” Well, in this case, this article is perfect for you.
In this article, we will discuss both types mulch, like there are two types of mulch organic mulch and synthetic mulch. Upon reading the article you will understand the working of both. So that you could choose the best for your garden.
You can either work yourself or you can ask the best landscapers out there which is of course The Detail Guys. You can call the detail guys for even free estimates.
Both types of mulch have their benefits and drawbacks. So you should know what mulch is to choose the best for your garden. To start off, mulch is any material that can spread on the surface of your yard. Its basic purpose is to cover the area underneath.
Mulch is scattered on top of the soil. This provides a covering effect; if you have a yard with loose soil, then mulching is the best way to cover it. The basic purpose of mulch or mulching is to retain the moisture present in the ground and to keep off weeds.
All the people who are into gardening or have some gardening experience know that retaining moisture in the soil is very beneficial. There are many advantages to keeping the water in the ground, too. Still, the most common benefit of mulching is that it makes your lawn or garden more attractive.
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Mulching is a collective term for covering the surface of the soil. Mulches come in various forms and styles; one of the most common types of mulch is composed of small, chopped pieces or twigs that can be found easily in any forest.
However, this is not the only type of mulch; there are many other types of mulch. For instance, small pebbles or rocks can also serve as a protective layer because these do not allow weeds to grow through them.
What Is Mulch ? – Organic Mulch
When we talk about organic mulch, the first thing that comes to mind is organic material. Organic mulch is basically any carbon base compound that can be placed on the surface of the soil to protect it. For instance, compost, peat moss and bark are some of the best organic mulches that you can use for your garden.
Organic Mulch Benefits
There are many benefits associated with using organic mulch in your garden, one major benefit is that it helps to keep moisture in the soil. If you have ever kept mulch on top of your garden, then you must have noticed that water does not evaporate as quickly.
So while retaining moisture, organic mulching helps to enhance the growth of plants and flowers because they get adequate amount of nutrients from the ground during the rainy season. It is also very efficient in controlling weeds.
Organic mulch has many benefits as compared to synthetic mulches. For instance, it is better at maintaining the pH level of the soil and also does not decompose quickly.
Organic mulch also allow oxygen to freely move through the surface of your garden; that’s why it is considered safe by most professional landscapers.
Organic materials are used in all types of soils. If we talk about gritty sand and heavy clay, using fertilizers in them is next to impossible. Still, because of the ability of organic matter, these types of soil also get enriched by organic materials.
The other use of organic material is that it can also improve the drainage of soil. It is beneficial for gardens that do not have proper drainage system and plants those need dry soil environment.
Precaution While Mulching
Because organic mulch can retain moisture of the ground, it can be used to kill insects like snails and slugs; if you are using an organic pesticide-free weed killer then there is a possibility that it will also kill the insects living on your ground.
Organic mulch is usually acidic in nature so it should not be used for alkaline soil. If you have a garden or lawn with alkaline soil, then you should use synthetic fabrics and rubber to keep off pests and weeds.
So from the above discussion you will know that mulching can even harm your garden if it is not done properly.
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Benefits Of Using Organic Mulch
The most important benefit of using organic mulch is that it protects the soil from sun and rain. Usually, it is made up of rich brown organic materials; these are easy to find in nature.
Organic material decomposes quickly when it comes in contact with water but at the same time, this decomposition also releases nutrients in the ground that can help your plants to grow faster.
So based on your requirements you can choose synthetic mulch or organic mulch depending on its benefits and advantages for you. It is better to always use organic mulches; however, if at all synthetic ones are needed then only use it as a last resort.
Organic mulch also increase the quality of the soil . It makes it soft and friable. With the help of mulch, plants can easily establish their roots in soil. As a result, the growth of plants is promoted because they get enough oxygen and water for their survival.
Mulching and landscaping can be a long-term investment and will defiantly pay itself off in the long run. You can call the best company and they will love to help you out transforming your garden.
Looking After Your Garden
Mulch can help you take care of your garden in many ways. It can help you by protecting the soil from sun and rain, it also increases the quality of soil in your garden.
The Importance Of Mulching Your Landscape
Organic mulches helps to keep moisture in the ground . The best part about them is that they use natural material that do not harm your plants or your environment when used correctly. So, if you want to take care of your garden then you should have mulching.
When we think about synthetic mulch, the first thing that comes to mind is plastic. However, synthetic mulch is so much more than just plastic; many things can be used as mulch that comes under this category. This article will discuss just some of the synthetic mulch that one can use right now.
Some of the synthetic mulch include Black Plastic, Landscape Fabric, and Stone/Gravel.
By using synthetic mulch, you can control weeds and pests in your garden because of its non porous material nature. The best part about it is that even the plants like raspberry does not grow well when mulched with plastic, but synthetic mulch can actually be good for them.
Plastic Mulch Vs Fabric Mulch
Plastic mulch and fabric mulch are the two most common types of synthetic mulch. Many people want to know which kind of mulch is better and what makes them better. First of all, let’s talk about fabric mulch; it is a type of organic material that is made from recycled cotton. Cotton fabrics are woven together with polypropylene which gives the fabric its strength and durability. On the other hand, plastic mulches are made up of polyethylene or HDPE plastic; they come in black color. Because black colored polymer plastic can absorb heat, so many plants grow very well when these plastics are used as mulching materials.
Some people might think that using plastic will work against nature because it releases harmful substances into the soil every time it gets heated on a sunny day. However, this is not the case with polyethylene because it does not break down as fast when exposed to heat and UV rays. This material can degrade only by long exposure to sunlight or through biodegradation process in the soil; this means that compostable plastic mulch can be recycled again into nature.
Functionality of Plastic Mulch
If you like the functionality of synthetic mulch but do not like what it looks like, you can add a thin layer of organic mulch-like bark on top of the plastic. Unfortunately, this will not change the appearance of synthetic mulch because it is just a thin layer. However, this can help you in controlling weeds in your garden.
Another advantage of plastic mulch is that it has the ability to absorb up moisture from the soil and release heat during hot days; these two functions keep plants warm in cold climates and fresh in humid places.
Using Plastic And Landscape Fabric as Mulch
If you are planning to plant shrubs and trees, then plastic and landscape fabric is a perfect option. Plastic helps in controlling weeds while landscape fabric is very good for keeping soil warm and moist.
However, make sure that you place the plastic under the tree and over the fabric. This way mulch will keep your soil nice and moist but will not allow weeds to grow easily on top of it; this can be a perfect protection against weed attacks on your.
The reason behind using plastic and landscape fabric for the trees and shrubs is that both of them keep sunlight and water away from plants. This is good because it prevents your young trees and shrubs from getting too much sun or moisture which can affect their growth.
Synthetic mulch can be a great alternative to organic mulches also because they do not attract insects as most natural materials do; this way you will not have to worry about being attacked by pests.
The only disadvantage of using synthetic mulch is that it comes with a hefty price tag which makes it unaffordable for a lot of people, but if you are looking for the best results in your garden, then you should spend some bucks on this product.
Gravel And Stone
Gravel and stone also fall under the category of synthetic mulch. Rock and stone are perfect for areas that require a lot of water. Although gravel and stone have very good drainage, the plants that require a bit more heat can be benefited from gravel and stone mulch.
Gravel and stone mulch can be heavy, and once used, it is not that easy to remove then, so think long and hard about using gravel and stone as mulch. Another factor that you should consider is that the mulch you will use depend on the functionality and aesthetics.
Gravel and stone look very good aside from their functionality. However, more and more choices pop up each year when it comes to mulch.
You should choose only that type of mulch that pleases you the most; the mulch should be able to aids your garden for many years to come.
If you want to keep mud off your shoes, gravel and stone are perfect. However, if you want to keep weeds away, plastic mulch is the best option for you.
If you plan to plant trees or shrubs in your garden then make sure that you use the right type of synthetic mulch because some options will affect their growth. Remember to ask the best mulching company out there to know which can be best option for you.
How Much Mulch Do I Need?
After knowing just a few benefits of mulch, you may be thinking, how much mulch do I need?
How much mulch you need depends on the size of your garden. For instance, if you have a yard of 1500 square feet, then you will need around 50 cubic feet of mulch. The same quantity of yard would require about 30 cubic feet if it is in daily use. This means that the more often you use your lawn, the greater will be the requirement for synthetic mulches.
If you decide to buy bale or bags of wood chips, then make sure that you do not get them piled up but spread them evenly so that they can dry properly and are able to decompose easily in soil without causing any harm to plants or soil microbes.
Organic Mulch Include
Shredded or chipped wooden bark
Needles of pines laying around in your lawn
Clipping of grass
Discarded or Trashed newspaper
Leaves that are fallen or shredded
Weed piles from your lawns
Food waste that is biodegradable
There can be many other things that you can use as mulch in your yard. However, make sure that the materials are biodegradable and can decompose easily without causing any damage to soil or plants.
Chipped wood is one of the most popular organic mulches which is made from green waste, recycled trees and branches etc. They are also known as brown mulches. If you want to save money then this one is the best option because it can be prepared at home easily.
Using Bark As Mulching Material
Using bark is common, especially around trees and shrubs; bark is also mulch in your garden bed. This area does not require a lot of digging or constant digging; front walkways, foundations are perfect examples.
If you are using bark as mulch then you should know that it is made from oak, elm and other hardwoods are the best bark mulch.
Bark can be an excellent material for mulching but there are certain standards for using bark as mulch like not to use it under trees or close to ornamental plants. If you are adding too much bark mulch in your garden then make sure that you do not cover up grass or any other plant in your yard as this will suffocate them.
You need around 2 inches of whiter colored grape leaves which look more attractive than brown pine needles and also decompose faster.
Grass clippings are used in those parts of your garden where you want to stop weed growth. Grass clippings may also be used in the compost pile with leaves, paper and vegetable matter; hence using clippings as mulch is a great option.
Shredded Bark Mulch
By using this type of wood you can get rid of the confusion that you have when it comes to chipped mulches. Chipped bark has many advantages except for one thing that it does not look good around plant beds. However, if you are looking to provide weed control then this is the best material for your garden bed.
Recycled Newspaper And Magazines As Mulch
You need around 2 inches of brown colored newspaper or magazine pages which will help reduce weeds and hold moisture in soil in those areas where plants should be kept moist like raised flower beds.
Some common materials that are not good for your garden are as follows: composite wood, plastic, stone or mineral mulches can cause damage to soil and plants. They also take a long time to decompose and thus end up clumping together. If you wish to use compost then do so in small quantities because it can be smelly if used too much..
If you have decided on using organic types of mulches , then there is no need of adding any fertilizers because these products already contain the right combination of nutrients. Mulching helps to retain moisture in soil. Organic mulches decompose year round and release nutrients to your plants that are needed for growth.
Mulching helps you protect the topsoil , which is sensitive, from wind and water erosion as well as maintains your landscape’s beauty. When you use organic mulch, there will be less need of watering.
How You May Use Newspaper As Mulching Material
To use a newspaper as mulch, first you need to gather the newspapers from around your house. If you do not have enough of it then just borrow some from neighbors or friends. Then arrange these sheets in a way that they look like a layer on top of each other; do not make them too thick as this will prevent sunlight, water and air. Make sure that there are no layers which are folded because if so then it will go into soil and rot when wet but if these pieces are dry and stiff than they can kill plant roots.
When you choose to use mulch with newspaper, the advantage is that plants can easily grow through paper because it breaks down very quickly unlike bark mulches which take longer time for decomposition. In addition to this, also makes your garden look more attractive as it gives a finished and rich look.
When you wish to use mulch around your home, newspaper can be used in a variety of ways like under flower beds or vegetables plants. This will not only protect the root system but is also cost effective.
Using Shredded Leaves As Mulch
Using shredded leaves as mulch is also a good idea. If you want to choose shredded leaves as mulch , then make sure that you do not use those leaves which have been treated with herbicides.
When you think about using mulch, the first thing that comes in our mind is regarding leaves and needles from pine trees as it is very popular to mix them up with bark for keeping garden beds tidy. These types of mulches have a short life span because they are organic; hence need to be replaced every year after their decomposition period. If it does not look good to sight then try doing ground cover. It helps to eliminate weeds in your lawns and makes a great choice for maintaining flower bed too.
Also make sure that when you choose leaf mulch, you pick only fallen leaves, never ones that were raked or gathered from a tree. It is better to use them in spring or fall when they have just fallen off the trees for mulches and decompose quickly to feed your soil .
Using Straw and Hay as Mulching material
Straw and hay mulching can be best in dry regions. Hay mulching will help your plants to retain moisture and also provides good protection from weeds. You can get straw at affordable cost because it is used as bedding for animals.
When you wish to use hay or straw mulches, then make sure that the material is finely chopped before placing it around the base of plants. Also make sure that if you use hay in winter than protect them with a protective layer like plastic sheeting or burlap so that they don’t freeze.
Using straw mulches are advisable only when plant roots are not exposed to much soil heat; this reason behind this being is its natural decomposition rate which takes place slowly .This makes it available through out the year unlike shredded leaves.
To avoid mud, you can use straw mulches in place of bark mulch. The quality and density of these materials are very less than bark mulch but will last longer because it is light to carry, easy to spread around and also available year round . It does not offer much protection from weeds. However, it will help the flowers or vegetables stay upright and protect them from ground water and sunlight too.
What To Do With Old Mulch?
When you are done with old mulch, just leave it in place because it serves the purpose of adding nutrients to your garden soil. However, once spring comes ,it is a good idea to pull out and replace it with fresh mulch for keeping your plants healthy .
If you find that the broken down mulch does not look attractive then you can use tools like mattock or spades to break them into small pieces and remove them. If you do not have any tool at home than hand loosen up those layers first from bottom and top side and let them get dissolved by rain water.
Although old leaves are soft but when you try to remove them than they will resist since they have an attachment with soil so do this carefully without disturbing the plant roots. Do not use shovel to remove them as it will damage your plants and soil too .
The most effective way to remove mulch from garden is by using a garden rake or hoe. Just push these tools into the ground alongside of each plant, near its base and free up enough dirt so that you can pull out old mulches easily.
Getting rid of old mulch can be tough so call The Detail Guys . We are professionals who will carry out the task for you . Enjoy the beautiful garden without any worry of old mulch! Read more about Home and Garden Portable Products.
Can You Reuse Old Mulch?
Sometimes, it is a good idea to reuse old mulch instead of throwing it away. This way you will save money from buying mulch again and again. But remember before reusing your old mulch make sure that there are no broken plant roots or animals living inside the pile of leaves.
When you use them for decorative purposes then make sure that they do not include toxic plants like Azaleas and evergreens because they will harm your plants . Generally, if you have children at home than try to avoid this activity in order to keep them safe .
For avoiding any danger, keep an eye out on worms and bugs as they might be still alive in the decomposition process so never add those leftovers into garden beds . If you do not want to dispose mulch on your own then hire professionals like The Detail Guys for doing this task.
Reusing old mulch is beneficial in many advantages like :
Saves you money from buying new mulch again and again.
Helps preserve soil nutrients which are lost during decomposition.
Reduces the amount of waste that will eventually decomposed into greenhouse gases.
It helps decrease the need for fertilizers by circulating all organic matter back into the garden.
Mulch is a great way to improve the look of your garden and can also be beneficial for plants. Here at The Detail Guys, we offer mulching services so that you don’t have to do it yourself or worry about getting an improper quality of product. If you’re interested in our service, please give us a call today! We would love to provide more information on how we can help beautify your property by providing top-quality landscaping and mulching.