Mulch & Landscaping
Showcase Your Trees & Shrubs - Mulch
Mulch seems to be everywhere you look, banks, gas stations, hospitals, factories, schools and of course homes. It was not too long ago that most people let their lawns surround there trees and shrubs, now there are sea shells and colored wood framing all sorts of plants and buildings. It is the invasion of mulch and the Art of Mulching is now a profession.
Mulch comes in organic and non-organic materials both with pros and cons. Usually for the home the organic types are used but if you have huge areas to maintain then non-organic mulch maybe be the way to go.
Use mulch around your flower beds to add a distinctive contrast and really make the flowers pop. You can make the sides of your walkways or driveway stand out with even just a few inches of a quality colored mulch. Mulch contrasts well with just about anything you want to highlight in your yard. Mulch can make bricks, pavers, lawns, fountains, patios, trees, bushes and hedges look great.
Getting Started With Mulch
To retain moisture and prevent weeds around trees and shrubs, homeowners should consider shredded bark mulch, which will hold its color longer than solid wood chips but doesn't take as long to break down and become soil.
Bark Mulch is one of the most popular mulches around, because it looks so great once you put it down. It is also an excellent choice when it comes to water conservation, since it provides a solid barrier against moisture evaporation. The one downside of this mulch is its size. Most bark mulch comes in large chips, which decompose slowly. If you can find bark that's been shredded, go that route. Shredded bark will not only trap moisture in your flower beds better than large chips, but since it decomposes quicker, it more readily adds nutrients to the soil as well.
Which Type of Wood Mulch Is Best for Me?
With a wide range of wood based mulch to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which type to lay down over your garden beds. Here's a list of the most common types, and why, or why not, you should choose these mulches for your landscaping needs.
Bark Mulch Varieties
- Red Oak Bark Mulch
PRO = Contrasts Nicely With Green Grass
CON = Not Recommended On Steep Slopes
- Pine Bark Mulch
PRO = Slow to decompose generally lasting a year or more.Pine Bark Mulch can be purchased in different sizes.
CON = Large chunks can float away from the mulched surface. May lower soil pH slightly.
- Cypress Bark Mulch
PRO = Attractive-looking, inexpensive and long-lasting. Chips are easy to apply.
CON = Many experts do not recommend using Cypress Mulch because its harvest depletes cypress wetlands.
- Eucalyptus Bark Mulch
PRO = Hold color for a long time
CON = Expensive If Imported
- Cedar Bark Mulch
PRO = Wood has natural oils that repel insects,
CON = May cost a bit more initially.
- Redwood Bark Mulch
PRO = Its Beautiful Color
CON = Its Cost & Weed Control is Only Fair
- Hemlock Bark Mulch
PRO = Long lasting with a natural reddish brown color
CON = Some People Don't Like The Darkening Color Over Time
Mulch & Pests
Whether you choose bark mulch, or another variety, it's important that you take into consideration the prevalence of wood boring pests in your area before you purchase. Termites, for example, prefer to munch on dead wood, and wood based mulch is a favorite feeding ground. If you live in an area where termites are commonplace, it's probably a good idea to talk to a pest control contractor or landscaping contractor before making your purchase. It can be the difference between a maintenance free landscape, and one that causes scores of headaches and larger problems down the road. If termites are not a problem in your area, wood mulch is about the best investment you can make when it comes to landscaping. You'll be getting one of the best looking, and performing, mulches on the market.
The Complete Compost Gardening Guide
Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin turn the compost bin upside down with their liberating system of keeping compost heaps right in the garden, rather than in some dark corner behind the garage. The compost and the plants live together from the beginning in a nourishing, organic environment. The authors' bountiful, compost-rich gardens require less digging, weeding, mulching, and even less planting.