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Types of Mulch

There are several benefits of mulch. It retains soil moisture, promotes root growth by regulating soil temperature, minimizes runoff, and inhibits weeds. Mulches can be broadly classified into two categories – organic mulches and inorganic mulches.



Organic Mulches

Organic mulches are natural-origin materials that decompose naturally and must be replenished on a regular basis. Typical examples include grass clippings, wheat or paddy straw, sawdust, rice hulls and compost. When an organic mulch decomposes, it adds essential nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, trace elements and nitrogen to the soil. They invite earthworms to the soil and naturally aerate it. To prevent pests from feeding on mulch, add cedar chips to your mulch beds.

Types of Organic Mulches

  1. Bark and Wood Chips: One of the most popular types of organic mulches. It is inexpensive, looks great and is quite effective at preventing weeds. Bark and wood chippings are usually dried and aged before being packed in large bags. Use hardwood chips that have started to decompose for your flower beds. Put softwood chippings around trees and large shrubs

  2. Pine Needles: If you have pine trees in your yard, rake up the fallen pine needles and spread them amongst your plants as mulch. Known for its rustic appearance, pine mulch is a sustainable ground cover alternative that doesn’t require cutting down trees

  3. Garden Compost: Garden compost consists of manure, composted food waste and garden products. Before applying garden compost, break it down and then spread it out around the base of your plants


Inorganic Mulches

Inorganic mulches can be natural such as river rocks and gravel or synthetic/man-made such as rubber, landscape fabric and plastic sheeting. Unlike organic mulches, they do not break down over time. They do not release any nutrients in the soil, and hence, do not improve soil structure and health. Plus, they can be very difficult to remove. Despite these disadvantages, inorganic mulches are more suitable than organic mulches in some cases.

Types of Inorganic Mulches

  1. Rubber Mulch: Rubber mulch utilizes rubber obtained from old tires that have been pulverized and recycled. It can provide a safe surface for children’s play areas. Rubber mulch keeps weeds in check. It does not blow or wash away easily and requires less maintenance than many other types of mulches. Some rubber mulches are dyed to mimic the appearance of tree bark

  2. Landscape Fabrics: Or geotextiles suppress weeds, while promoting ventilation. Landscape fabric allows nutrients and water to penetrate the soil. Apply a top layer of mulch over your landscape fabric. If a weed pops up, remove it immediately or it may get embedded in the fabric

  3. Gravel, Pebbles and Rocks: Rock mulches suppress weeds. They can withstand strong winds. A rock mulch can include river rocks, pebbles, marble chips and volcanic rocks. The right color and texture of rocks can improve the aesthetics of your property


Gardenworks offers top-notch landscaping services in Healdsburg. We take the guesswork out of lawn care. To learn more, call 707-857-2050.

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