Contractors and homeowners alike appreciate building materials that provide aesthetics and function. One such material is mulch, which acts as a multi-purpose ground cover.
You can improve the looks and value of your property by strategically placing different types of mulch. The right kind of cover will also maintain conditions on your garden, lawn, or tricky landscape areas.
Mulch consists of a variety of natural and synthetic materials. These mulch products vary in size, function, and durability. The longer a mulch substrate can last, the less money and time you need to invest in your yard.
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Why Do You Need Mulch?
Mulch is a ground covering that you place in layers on your garden or lawn. It might consist of natural materials like bark, moss, pine straw, or wood chips. You can also find synthetic materials made from plastic or rubber.
You should consider using mulch to:
- Prevent erosion
- Prevent compaction
- Moisture retention
- Soil Nutrition
Bare soil, or dirt with little vegetation, can erode quickly. Adding a layer of mulch helps to keep soil in place.
Most natural or synthetic mulch is larger than soil granules. Addin mulch can prevent the soil from compacting. That allows air, moisture, and nutrients to reach roots.
Mulch comes in varieties of colors and textures, providing landscapers or homeowners to create almost any style of terrain that this wish. Decorating your yard with mulch will let you enjoy it more throughout the year.
A layer of mulch will act as a barrier between the air and your soil. Water will not evaporate as quickly due to air movement or from sunlight.
Many natural mulches add to the nutrients already present in your dirt. These products break down over time, slowly adding to the nutrients needed for a healthy garden or lawn.
The substrate on your yard will decay over time. In some cases, the materials will wash away or become brittle and break into ever smaller particles.
Natural materials like bark or moss tend to last for a short time. You will find yourself replacing these mulch layers annually in many cases.
Wood chips can last for two or more seasons, while many decorative rocks can last several years.
Synthetic materials, like plastic or rubber, can last as long as you own the property. These types of mulch also come in different colors and sizes while performing the same.
Natural colors can be pleasing under the conditions. They appear muted in many outdoor settings, especially in urban areas. The colors can last for years with some materials like rock, but most organic mulches will fade under the sun and weather, becoming grey in just a few months.
Manufacturers offer dyed natural mulches. They provide a colorful alternative to natural tones, but the dyes will wash off or fade with constant exposure to direct sunlight.
If you want a colorful substrate that will not fade, plastic and rubber mulch is your best bet. The colors are more consistent throughout the material, even if it breaks apart.
What Should You Shop For?
If you are looking for a temporary change in garden aesthetics, consider natural or colored moss. It wears quickly but is usually cheap to buy. The moss is all-natural and will break down into nutrients for your garden area.
Many gardeners use bark for garden covering that needs to last a little longer. Bark chips are large, allowing air, food, and water to transfer into the soil. It can help keep the soil moist by protecting it from the sun’s heat or air currents.
Rocks are often selected as garden borders, helping to establish a hard line between lawn and bare soil used for fruits, flowers, or vegetables.
Moss and trimmed grass are useful for covering bare soil spots in your grass. It will help prevent erosion and retain the water that grass seeds need for growth. It also acts as a barrier to help keeps weeds at bay.
Natural colors will tend to stand out, so dyed products are useful for blending with well-maintained grasses. Dyed products will fade as the year goes on, so you will need to replace them in areas that get a lot of foot traffic.
Larger mulch products, natural or synthetic, tend to hinder grass growth. They can serve as a decorative border for your lawn along paths and near shrubs or trees.
Decorating shrubs and trees
Grasses and other plants can struggle to grow beneath a shrub or tree. The lack of light is the main reason for this. Most homeowners will use bark, rock, or synthetics in these areas.
Natural colors tend to last longer in the shade the larger shrubs and tree canopies offer. A lack of UV damage allows them to retain colors longer, sometimes for two or more years.
The moisture and nutrients in the soil are best used for keeping the shrubs or trees alive, so colorful synthetics are a good selection here as well.