Tim’s Tips – Choosing the Right Mulch
Type of Mulch – Compost
Reasons to Use It – Breaks down and puts organic matter in the soil and keeps the weeds out if it is applied 3″ thick. May prevent plant diseases. You can make your own if you know how.
Possible contraindications – Not long-lasting.
Type of Mulch – Hardwood Mulch
Reasons to Use It – Long lasting and looks attractive. Smothers weeds well.
Possible contraindications – Applying too much can smother plants.
Type of Mulch – Shredded Bark
Reasons to Use It – Breaks down in a season or two and contributes to soil health by increasing organic matter and aiding beneficial soil organisms. Attractive and weed free. May help smother small weeds.
Mulches To Avoid
Type of Mulch – Dyed
Reasons Not to Use It – It is poor as an organic matter additive – it breaks down slowly and can rob growing plants of nitrogen. Often contains nails and other debris from ground-up trash wood which can be from pallets, old decking, demolished buildings or pressure treated lumber. May contain Chromium, Copper and Arsenic.
Type of Mulch – Cypress and Cedar
Reasons Not to Use It – Poor as weed control, over-rated. Possible source of insect contamination from the Southern states. We will already have enough insect problems because of the warm winter – no reason to risk bringing in more.
Type of Mulch – Hot
Reasons Not to Use It – It’s still breaking down and the temperature can get too hot for plants if spread during warm weather. Allow to cool off before applying.
Type of Mulch – Rubber
Reasons Not to Use It – Collects too much heat for plants because it’s made out of tires. It is useful for kid’s playgrounds however.