The Best Mulches to Use For Gardening
Find Out Which are the Best Types of Natural Organic Mulch to Use For Gardening
What does mulch do and what is the purpose of mulch? – Mulch is good and important for gardening. Mulches are actually special materials that benefit the plants and the soil and are added to the soil surface, to promote the growth of plants by reducing the growth of unnecessary materials like weeds, maintaining the moisture of your soil, conserving water and improving the entire look of your vegetable or flower garden. Generally, mulches make the plants a lot healthier. If you are able to use them properly, you can definitely ensure the growth of your plants. There are various kinds of mulches that you can use. We will tell you their advantages and disadvantages and how to use the best mulches for gardening and for your bedding plants.
There are two main types of mulches and they are the organic and the inorganic ones
Organic mulches consist of a variety of natural materials used as mulch these are composts, barks, wood chips, leaves, sugar cane, lawn clippings, straw and shredded newspaper.
Inorganic materials are more of the artificial kinds and are usually made of chemicals and other synthetic substances. Some of these include stones, plastic and even landscape textiles.
Examples of Mulching Materials to Use for Garden Beds What’s in Them !!
There are many interesting different kinds of garden mulch options that you can use to spread a 1 or 2 inch deep layer of mulch around your garden beds. We will run through what mulch to use, the most popular types of organic mulches that can be used when you mulch your garden soil. We will also tell you what’s in them.
Things to Remember when Using the Right Mulch for your Garden
- Good mulch promotes soil microorganism activity and prevents the soil from compacting.
- A good mulch conserves water up to 50%,
- Only the best mulch feeds the soil – while the mulch breaks down it is usually feeding the soil, which then feeds the plants.
1. The best mulch for your garden beds, I think is known as the lucerne Straw or lucerne hay this is used without difficulty here in Australia. Lucerne straw or hay is also known as the Alfalfa. This is known to be greatly rich in nitrogen and is a very effective material that can promote the growth of your plants. It takes about six months before the Lucerne hay rots into the soil, which is why you can effectively use it as a mulch for your plants.
2. The next type of mulch that can be highly recommended for your plants is known as the pea straw. It is also very rich in nitrogen and can greatly promote the growth of your plants. It is known to improve soil moisture and even the structure of the soil. With the use of pea straw, you can lessen the growth of the weeds which can interfere with the growth of your plants. This type of mulch is easy to maneuver around your plants.
3. Wheat straw is also considered as mulch but it is generally not that effective as compared to the two previous mulches stated above. Cons – Straw ties up the nitrogen in the soil while it is rotting into the ground this means that you have to add the nitrogen back in. Grass clippings will do the same unless you scatter small amounts often so it decomposes quickly.
Are Wood Chips Good Mulch?
4. Wood chips are a type of mulch. These types of mulches, look good for landscaping but you have to be really careful when it comes to using them. You have to make sure that you find a legitimate source of wood chips. Wood chips can help conserve water while maintaining moisture for the soil and your plants. It is also very effective in preventing the growth of weeds which can interfere with your plants growth. After decomposition of these wood chips promotes increased availability of nutrients for your seeds or plants. Just because the wood chips look really good and pretty like black or red garden mulch it doesn’t mean that you can readily use them. You still have to make sure and inspect first whether these wood chips are generally dead or still alive. A tip – If the wood chips have a sour or vinegar smell this tells you that the wood chips are still decomposing. If they are still alive, being fresh the wood chips can serve as a competitor for your plants when it comes to nutrient and food supply meaning that fresh wood chips should not be used as mulch. Fresh wood chips and sawdust will also notoriously tie up or lock up nitrogen in your soil until the wood chips are fully decomposed. Another downside is that old wood chips when rotted could very well encourage termites. Hard wood chips also compact and mat on top of the soil and abandoned water away from plants. Over time the water will not drain through the wood chips into the soil to the plants roots where the water is needed. Wood chips are not suitable for vegetable gardens they are fine for large landscaped gardens to block weeds but not the ideal mulch for cottage gardens. I would be very wary of wood shavings or sawdust unless you know exactly where they came from the main fear is that CCA-treated timber contains arsenic.
I myself would never ever use woodchips in my garden as mulch because garden soils that are mulched over and over with eucalyptus or pine bark woodchips slowly but surely become water repellant. In my view using woodchips is the quickest way to kill plants.
5. Shredded Newspaper / Cardboard is another great mulch and to recycle newspapers, you don’t have to shred the newspaper mulch you can just lay it out 5 or 6 paper thickness along the surface of the ground, you are best to wet the newspaper first before you use it. Use newspaper under the mulch will smother weeds well by mulching the soil at the same time, it is advisable to apply another organic mulch such as sugar cane mulch over the top to weight the wet newspaper down. In no time the worms will turn over the smothered weeds and the newspaper back into the soil.
6. Pine Straw is free when collected under pine trees but its not dense enough to wholly suppress the weeds. Pine Straw also has a reputation for acidifying the soil.
Recycle your Organic Garden Waste to Help the Environment
I know in most towns and cities here in Australia, the local council has a recycling system where, you take your excess garden waste for recycling, especially if you live in a town or the city, and you have to know where to put your excess lawn clippings and tree cuttings into compost, so then you put them out to be collected for green waste to be recycled. Then other people go along and buy the recycled garden waste after due time, after it has been made into mulch by the local council, then people use it on their gardens for mulch. Well, I suppose there is good and bad about recycling, that you could be collecting someone else’s diseases out of their garden not to mention their weed seeds. Is this such a good idea? Just a reminder about recycling from somewhere else, other than your own garden. Unless the mulch has been pasteurised and certified that it is weed and pathogen free and with no diseases in the mulch, it will be fine. But remember there are many diseases that can rip through your garden in no time, so be very careful where you get your mulch from.
Volcano Mulching Can Kill Trees – Not Good for the Trees at All
While it is a great idea too mulch plants and trees but it is not a great idea to go overboard and heap the mulch or grass clippings piled high around the tree trunk, this is known as “Mulch Volcanoes”. This is very harmful to trees yet it is so common in cities, as if they have no where else to put their grass clippings and won’t pay to take them to be recycled. There is one way to fix this and that is buying a mulcher lawn mower then you don’t have to catch the lawn clippings. I notice this done mostly on the council trees planted on the nature strips around Melbourne. Heaping mulch around trees can kill them it’s a bad idea. In Bendigo Victoria is another place you see the autumn leaves smouldering away, with their little fires in the autumn due to the huge maple trees that line the main road towards Melbourne… Both these products lawn clippings and autumn leaves rotted down make great rich compost soil for your garden, you can even spread this over your lawn as a fertiliser.
I hope we have let you know the best pros and cons of mulching protecting and decorating your lawns, flowers and vegetable gardens. Supplying you helpful tips on the best mulches and why you should use mulch for your plants in your garden.