WHAT KIND OF MULCH SHOULD I USE IN MY BEDS ?
WHAT TYPE TO USE ? HOW DEEP TO APPLY ? THE PITFALLS OF THE WRONG TYPE
WHAT SPECIES ? WHAT SIZE NUGGET ? WHERE NOT TO USE THE WORSE TYPE TO BUY
These are some of the most frequently asked questions as home-owners grapple with the issue of the various species of mulch and shred consistency. The first thing to understand is why you might want to apply mulch to your shrub beds. Mulch can be any organic ( and sometimes inorganic) shredded covering of the soil.
Mulch adds beauty, retains moisture, deters weeds, and adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes.
While it can be applied safely anytime of the year, it is usually done just before extremes of hot or cold weather to protect the root mass from extremes of temperature. It is also usually done before weddings and parties to freshen the look of the landscape. If it is used in a flower bed, it is best to wait until tender new shoots of perennials have established themselves so as not to smother them. It is typically applied in flower beds at about one inch depth, while shrub beds typically benefit from a two inch depth. The finer your plant material is, typically the finer the mulch will tend to be.
We recommend that home-owners buy the very best mulch they can afford in bags only from a reputable source. For longer lasting mulch that decomposes slowly, it is best to buy only cedar-bark, hemlock-bark, or pine-bark, as either a large nugget, mini-nugget, or shredded form. The main point is that it must be bark ! Read on...
Avoid buying bulk deliveries of mulch, you cannot verify their sources.
Tree companies love to give away " free mulch" to unsuspecting home-owners who do not realize that they are getting a free truckload of waste wood chippings that the tree companies must PAY to dump, so they are happy to dump it at your place, and sometimes even charge you for the privilege ! Do NOT accept this practice as these waste wood chips are usually carriers of disease and fungal spores, insects that may include termites or other destructive pests, and they tend to be very high in carbohydrates and so they decompose VERY quicky, robbing your plants of valuable nitrogen in the process which turns them yellow and weakens their natural defenses against insects and disease.
These types of cheap mulch are best used for weed control only in parking areas, construction areas, and other rough areas. They should never be used in residential beds where valuable and expensive plants or shrubs are planted.
RE-CAP- never accept bulk deliveries, do not assume that your gardener will make the right choice, you must specify that you want ONLY BARK from either cedar, pine, or hemlock tree wood AND it MUST be in a bag or you risk buying discount mulch that may cost you bigtime in the long run.
NEVER buy colored mulch such as bright red, brown or black as these are dyed to give a fake color and are not even chipped trees but actually they are chipped shipping pallets which is why they must be colored to hide their inferior origins.