Hardwood Mulch

Mulch in the Garden

As you may know, mulch is beneficial to plants in that it helps keep the soil moist, prevents weeds from cropping up, and as it decays, adds organic matter to the soil. But with all of the different types of mulch out there in garden center land how do you know what mulch to use?

One of the best mulches for flower and shrub beds is aged triple shredded hardwood or pine bark mulch. The key word here is aged and it should be aged at least one year and because it is triple shredded, it is less coarse than wood chips or chunks of bark. Aged mulch means that it has already started decomposing and contributes organic matter and nutrients to the soil more quickly. Triple shredded bark is also more naturalistic looking in appearance, although many people prefer mulch dyed a color like red or brown that retains its color after the decomposition process has started.

Other options for mulch include grass clippings, straw, cocoa bean hulls, and shredded newspaper; however, they are not as effective as shredded bark mulch for a number of reasons. Grass clippings have a tendency to mat so that water cannot percolate into the soil. Straw decomposes too fast and cocoa bean hulls do not decompose as easily as aged triple shredded bark mulch. Shredded newspaper is a better option for seeding a lawn where it will not be visible once the grass grows.

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