Types of Mulch and Their Differences
Mulching is important for beautiful landscaping and gardening. A layer of mulch can suppress weed growth in your flower beds and beneath trees and shrubs. It also retains moisture so you don’t have to water as often. Mulch provides protection for roots during harsh winters and keeps the soil cooler during torrid summers. Some mulches (the organic types) add nutrients to the soil.
So, there’s no question that mulching has many benefits. But what types of mulch are available, and how do they differ? Which types are best?
Mulching Tips: The Differences
Mulch can be broken down into two main categories: organic (natural materials like bark, pine needles, leaves, wood chips and so forth) and inorganic (gravel or river rock, plastic nuggets and even ground-up recycled tires). Both types have their pros and cons, but most people use some type of organic mulch. It’s readily available and usually costs less than inorganic mulch. Some types of organic mulch, like leaves, grass clippings and pine needles, may already be in your yard, and they’re free. Organic mulch also adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.
Pine mulch and cedar mulch are two extremely popular types of organic mulch. A layer of either cedar mulch or pine mulch that’s two or three inches thick will provide good weed control and can be very attractive. Pine mulch and cedar mulch are both available as shredded bark or as “nuggets” – larger pieces of bark. One disadvantage of pine mulch is its tendency to attract termites and other bugs. Cedar mulch tends to be more insect-resistant. Both are inexpensive and easy to find, but cedar mulch is sometimes priced slightly higher than pine mulch.