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How to Choose the Right Mulch for your Garden

Post Date: June 25th, 2012

Mulching is a great habit that every gardener should have because mulch provides a number of benefits to the condition of your soil. It prevents weed growth, moderates soil temperature fluctuations and seals in soil moisture. While you can get mulches from free sources, there are also mulches that can be purchased locally.

 

Here are some popular types of mulch that you can use on your garden, the majority of which you can get for free!:

 

Grass Clippings

 

grass clippings

 

Advantages: Grass clippings are a cheap and readily available option for mulch. Just mow your lawn, gather the clippings and spread it over your soil.

 

Disadvantages: Grass clippings tend to decay quickly. When this happens, you need to replenish them often. At the same time, you have to avoid using weed killers or nitrogen-heavy fertilizer on your lawn if you plan on using your clippings as mulch because it may adversely effect other parts of your garden.

 

Decaying Leaves

 

decaying leaves

 

Advantages: Decaying leaves help hold in the soil moisture very well. Also, with good ground coverage, they inhibit sunlight and smother weeds very well.

 

Disadvantages: Compared to other types of mulch, decaying leaves are simply not very attractive to look at. They do decay quite quickly and sometime blow away with large gusts of wind. Another thing you’ll have to be aware of is that leaves may be acidic and can lower the pH level of your soil, which in turn brings about conditions that allow moss to grow.

 

Wood or Bark Chips

 

red bark mulch

 

Advantages: Apart from looking neat and attractive, mulch made from wood or bark chips tend to stay where you put them. It doesn’t decay as quickly as the aforementioned types of mulch either.

 

pine mulch

 

Disadvantages: Be careful when using pine bark mulch as it is a fairly acidic material. Also, be careful with the amount of mulch you put on soil. If you accidentally apply a too deep a layer against shrub trunks or trees, you might produce a hiding area for rodents.

 

Compost

 

fresh compost soil

 

Advantages: The good thing about using compost is that it is free and plentiful, especially if you have your own compost pile. The nutrient content is high and great for the soil.

 

Disadvantages: You have to be careful in using fresh compost because the decomposition process creates heat which can shock your plants a bit if you introduce the warm compost too suddenly.

 

Newspaper or Shredded Paper

 

shredded paper

 

Advantages: Newspaper or shredded paper is known to work well in vegetable gardens. Its another readily available mulch material and it decomposing very quickly.

 

Disadvantages: You may not find newspaper or shredded paper attractive for landscaping. The coloured ink on the paper can also be harmful for your plants. If you decide on using this cheap and convenient mulch option, be cautious not to use sections with colored ink. Avoid magazines as its paper is usually colored and glossy.

 

Experiment a bit to see how you garden reacts over time. There are definite benefits to using mulch in your garden but each person will have different preferences so try it out for yourself to see which one works for you and your plants. And if you’re in the Vancouver area and you’re looking for a landscaping company to clean up your garden and restore its health, contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help improve your property!

 

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The Benefits of Mulch in your Garden

Post Date: June 24th, 2012

trowel with a scoop of mulch

 

Every seasoned gardener knows how important it is to pay attention to their soil condition. Since this helps achieve healthier plants, gardeners need to continually look for ways they can improve their soil. One solution for this is to make use of mulch, as it has been known to help provide a number of benefits to the garden such as controlling weeds, keeping soil moist and cool, reducing soil temperature fluctuations, adding nutrients, and preventing soil erosion.

 

But what exactly is mulch and how does it provide so many benefits to the garden? Made from organic and biodegradable materials, mulch is usually composed of shredded newspaper, wood chips, leaves or bark. Even though mulch can be made from non-biodegradable materials, it is best to make use of organic sources. Mulch made from organic sources tends to decompose over time; as such, adding nutrients to the soil.

 

Here are the benefits of mulch in the garden:

 

  • Mulch retains moisture in the soil. Once added to the soil, it keeps the underneath portions of the soil moist and cool. This helps gardeners because moist soil means that it does not require as much watering. At the same time, this keeps soil cool and protected from extreme heat. When the roots of the plants are exposed to extreme heat, they become vulnerable to rot and diseases. By adding mulch to soil, this can be prevented.
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  • Mulch helps prevent soil erosion. By reducing rainwater velocity, mulch is able to prevent soil erosion. However, heavy rainfalls can wash away mulch so its a good idea to inspect the garden periodically and replace mulch as required.
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  • Mulch helps control weeds. Having a layer of mulch will prevent sunlight from getting through to the soil and significantly reduce the growth of weeds.

 

mulch on garden

 

The typical application of mulch is 2-3 inches spread directly on top of soil and around plants. Try to keep the soil underneath the mulch loose as this will help the roots grow and spread out easily. At the same time, this practice helps retain soil moisture and allows the mulch to slowly release back into the soil as it decomposes. Along with the benefits mentioned above, it is easy to see why gardeners invest in organic mulch as a vital part of maintaining the health of their soil condition.

 

If you need advice on what mulch to use in your garden, contact us so we can help you in the process.

 

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