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Whether you’re a keen gardener, or you enjoy improving the aesthetics of your outdoor space mulch is a versatile, highly effective solution, transforming landscapes and the plants that grow in them.

What is mulch?

Mulch is a layer of material that is applied over the surface of the soil or around a plant as a protective layer. Mulch is one of the essential components of a successful farm or garden. Mulching is a simple act that provides a wide range of benefits for your garden, including weed control, soil erosion control, moisture retention, soil insulation, beautification, and general beauty. However, mulching is the most misunderstood component of gardening. In this guide, we’ll take you through some of the must-know aspects of mulching, including its benefits, how to mulch, the best mulches to use to improve the soil in your farm or garden, and the best techniques.

 

What are the benefits of gardening with mulch?

The most obvious benefit of mulch is insulating and protecting soil and plant roots from extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Simply by covering the soil surface, mulch prevents harsh sunlight from evaporating the soil’s moisture, which keeps the roots moist and healthy. Mulching can retain added moisture in the soil by as much as up to 80 percent. This is especially important in dryer climates. The presence of mulch prevents weeds from growing by preventing their access to sunlight hence stifling their growth and by preventing weed seeds from settling on soil and germinating. Keeping out weeds helps to prevent root competition. As mulch decomposes, it adds valuable slow-release nutrients to the soil providing enrichment. It also prevents vitamin loss in plants. Mulch also protects beneficial soil microorganisms, which helps to make your farm or garden healthier and more resistant to pests and diseases. Adding mulch to your garden can beautify the appearance of your garden. If applied correctly, it can bring tidiness and elegance to landscaping. Generally, mulching helps gardeners to save money and time in many ways.

 

 

 

What are the best mulches?

Pine straw

Pine straw makes good mulch for acid-loving plants such as tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, strawberries, and blueberries. In most areas, pine straw is an abundant resource, easy to collect, and easy to apply. Like any other mulch, pine straw gives you the benefits of moisture retention and insulation.

Grass clippings

Grass clippings make for fabulous mulch as they add nitrogen and much-needed nutrients for beneficial soil microorganisms. When properly dried and spread, grass clippings can serve as a supplemental fertilizer for your garden or lawn.

Leaf-mould

Leaf-mould is a versatile type of mulch that can be used in vegetable gardens, flower beds, and around the lawn. Leaf-mould is nutritious and nature-friendly. It’s readily available, and almost every plant loves it. The best quality leaf-mould is produced from leaves of beech, hornbeam, or oak. The best time to gather up leaf-mould is during autumn when deciduous trees drop their leaves.

Compost

Using high-quality compost on your garden provides all the benefits of regular mulches and enriches the soil as it is continuously leached into the soil below. When made the right way and applied correctly, compost works effectively to retain soil moisture, suppress weeds, and protect topsoil from run-off. Compost is made from kitchen trash, garden refuse, any green growing material, horse, chicken, cow, or rabbit manure. Compost is packed with nutrients, and it is easy to make.

Wood chips

A generous layer of wood chips on the soil surface will help garden plants in many ways. Bark and wood-chippings improve the soil’s nutrients and structure as they rot down. There are many materials that can be used to make wood chips for mulching. Pine bark trees make for an excellent source of wood chips for mulching. Pine bark mulch adds aluminum to the soil; hence it works best for acid-loving garden plants. It is available in different forms and textures. Gardening experts recommend pine nuggets as they take longer to break down compared to finely shredded mulches. If you’re looking to beautify your garden along with enriching the soil, natural red-dark brown pine bark is an ideal option. Pine bark wood chippings are lightweight, easy to spread, and last longer than most wood mulches. Pine bark wood chips are great for protecting plants from extreme temperatures and preventing the spread of soil-borne diseases.

Hemlock mulch also makes an excellent organic mulch for gardens. This type of mulch has a distinctive fragrance making it effective in deterring bugs. It’s rich; reddish-brown color makes it a good option for beautifying the appearance of your landscape. Hemlock wood chippings are recommended for acid-loving plants as it is highly acidic.

Another great option for wood chips is cedar. Like hemlock, cedar has a distinctive fragrance that can keep away bugs. The main advantage of cedar wood chips is that they last longer than most types of mulches, so you don’t have to replace the mulch often. However, this type of organic mulch tends to prevent water from penetrating the soil due to its fibrous texture.

 

Gravel, slate, and stone chippings

Stone mulches help with drainage and improve water retention. While they do not add any nutrients to the soil, stone chippings maintain a pristine look for your garden. Most stone chippings are very high in pH and tend to leach into the soil over time. Therefore, it is advisable to consider the pH level of particular stone chippings before using them as mulch.

 

Organic mulch vs. inorganic mulch

Organic mulch includes any material of natural origin that decays naturally, such as leaves, grass clippings, wood chippings, straw, compost, and sawdust. On the other hand, inorganic mulch is made from hardier materials such as rocks, plastic sheeting, rubber chips, landscape fabric, and non-woven geotextiles. Typically, inorganic mulch doesn’t decompose quickly like organic mulch. Some materials may not decompose at all. However, that doesn’t mean inorganic mulch harms plants. Organic mulch is preferred for use on different soil surfaces as it delivers more benefits. Besides, it costs much less than inorganic mulch. When deciding which mulch to use, it’s advisable to consider your landscaping goals.

 

When to mulch

The ideal time to apply mulch is from mid-to-late spring and autumn when the ground is relatively warm and moist. It’s best to avoid applying mulch in the summer when it’s dry and winter as the soil is too cold.

 

Tips to mulch with confidence

  • Plants need 2-4” of mulch, so be sure not to exceed 4” as it can bury the roots and bring other undesirable effects.
  • Refrain from piling up mulch around the base of plants to avoid a range of issues associated with excess moisture.
  • Avoid dyed mulches as they may contain harmful chemicals.
  • Buy mulch from a reputable vendor and enlist the services of a certified mulch blowing service to achieve the best results.

 

Mulch blowing

Applying mulch to a property is now faster and efficient with mulch blowing services. Mulch blowing is an excellent alternative to traditional mulching methods that use wheelbarrows. A specialized truck transports the mulch, and by hose spreads a uniform layer at larger landscapes, commercial, residential properties and even playgrounds. Mulch blowing lowers labor costs allowing property owners to save money. On average, two people can spread roughly eight cubic yards of mulch per hour. Mulch blowing uses a long tube that can reach almost anywhere. Therefore a mulch blower can apply mulch even on the hard to reach areas, rough terrain, and steep slopes. Unlike traditional methods, mulch blowing uses less material to mulch a property. Besides, a mulch blower allows for a more even distribution of material, and there is no spillage. Using a mulch blowing service eliminates heavy equipment on your lawn hence reducing property damage caused by traditional mulching methods.

 

Superior Stone & Fireplace

Superior Stone & Fireplace provides fast and efficient mulch installation service with a professional finish. We offer a huge selection of premium quality mulch from top manufacturers in the U.S. Some of the premium mulch products we offer include black pine, dark bark, hemlock, natural cedar, premium brown pine, and red cedar. Our crew can install 80 yards a day. No matter the size of your commercial or residential property, we can install cutting edge landscape mulch in a timely manner to give your outdoor space a neat, professional look. Save the headache! Let Superior Stone & Fireplace deliver and install high-quality mulch with utmost precision.

Applying mulch is an ordinary garden chore that can yield remarkable results. It’s best to apply a new base of mulch every year to control weeds, improve moisture retention, and improve the health and vigor of your plant material. If you’re looking for a reliable source of mulch in Connecticut, look no further than Superior Stone & Fireplace. At Superior Stone & Fireplace, we offer a wide selection of mulch products to help you create a fantastic outdoor space. Our mulch is 100% organic and of the highest quality from Vermont. We also provide hassle-free installation of mulch in CT as part of our mulch blowing service.

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