Different Types of Mulch

Different Types of Mulch

Mulching is fundamental to a healthy garden. Which types should you choose?

The time to think about gardens and landscaping is nigh; within a month, the weather shall turn warm, and the plants bloom to their fullest. While one may consider nature’s loveliness during this time, one must also tend to the ground. Flowers, trees, shrubs, and gardens need mulch to stay healthy and keep weeds from overcrowding their plot. Below is an overview of the different types of mulch available.

Organic Mulches

Among the many types of mulch available, they come in the two general categories of organic and inorganic. Organic mulch is any kind that can decompose over time, while inorganic will not. It can also add nutrients to the soil. 

Shredded Bark or Wood Chips

Shredded bark or wood chips is what one usually imagines when thinking of mulch. There are softwoods and hardwoods, and both work well for trees and shrubs, but hardwoods are best for perennial flower beds. The prime amount to lay down to keep out weeds is 2-4 inches.

Grass Clippings and Shredded Leaves

Grass clippings and shredded leaves are other forms of mulch that more or less come for free. All you need to do is mow your lawn and grind up those fall leaves. Trees, shrubs, and gardens benefit most from shredded leaves, and grass clippings are great for vegetable or flower beds. They even add nutrients to lawns when spread thinly across the grass.

Compost and Manure

Composting, which is the collecting of food scraps into a decomposition pile, is also an inexpensive and eco-friendly way of gathering nutrients and weed-suppressant for the garden. If you use manure, make sure it is well-composted first, since fresh manure can burn plants.


Straw works well and can also work together with newspaper underneath or wood mulch on top for extra strength. However, if you only want to preserve your newly-seeded lawn as the grass germinates, lightly-strewn straw is a fantastic solution.

Shredded Newspaper

While it may not seem organic at first, black-and-white newspaper bits also decompose into the soil. The paper may not provide nutrients, but when mixed with grass or leaf clippings, it can make a good weed-suppressant.

Inorganic Mulches

Inorganic mulches can be beautiful and practical. They will not disappear into the soil, but they could need replacing over time.

Stones or Glass

Stones or landscaping glass can add color and texture to a landscape and help retain soil moisture. A border is necessary before pouring in the materials. Bluestone gravel and river stones are beautiful choices. 

Lava Rocks

Lava rocks are particularly striking, with a deep red color. They are fantastic for walkways or around shrubs or succulents. For any type of stone, add landscaping fabric underneath to avoid sinking.

Colored Plastic and Landscaping Fabric

Lastly, colored plastic and landscaping fabric are practical, effective mulches that keep weeds at bay and retain heat at night for heat-loving plants. Colored plastic, in particular, can help your vegetable garden grow. 

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