Mulch is an important landscaping tool that allows you to customize the appearance of your garden beds while also providing the practical benefits of holding onto moisture and preventing the growth of unwanted plants and weeds. There are many different types of mulch, each of which carries a distinct set of characteristics with it. Understanding the differences between the most common types of garden mulch can help you choose the one that is the best fit for your landscaping needs.
Hardwood Medley Mulch
Hardwood medleys are the most common type of mulch, primarily due to their low initial cost. This makes them ideal for landscaping projects that have a tight budget. Further, hardwood medley is commonly taken from recycled wood sources, such as old telephone poles, which makes it an extremely sustainable mulching option. However, it should be noted that hardwood mulch will only last a few years at most before it has to be replaced, which can drive up long run maintenance commitments and costs.
Cedar mulch has a naturally light brown color, and is highly durable, meaning that it can withstand a great deal of rainfall and weather exposure over the years before it has to be replaced. Further, cedar mulch gives off a distinctive scent which many find pleasant, and which also repels insects, which makes it ideal for use with fragile and sensitive plants. The downsides associated with cedar as a mulch is the fact that it will pull nitrogen from the soil, which can hamper the growth of certain types of plants, and its overall cost, which can be restrictive when compared to other types of mulch.
Cocoa mulch will not leach nutrients from the ground like cedar will, but will still give off a distinct scent (and who doesn't like the smell of chocolate?). The darker color of cocoa mulch makes it ideal for use with brightly colored plants and flowers, since it will make them pop much more. However, cocoa doesn't repel insects like cedar does, and needs to be replaced as often as hardwood mulch does, while also presenting a severe safety hazard to dogs.
Pine Needle Mulch
Mulch that is made out of pine needles provides a soft, easy, and inexpensive blanket on top of your soil, and can be made yourself by layering fallen pine needles on your garden beds. It should be noted that you'll need to stack pine needles almost double the height of what you want your mulch to reach, since they will settle significantly over time due to water retention. The main downsides of pine needle mulch are that it needs to be refreshed every year, and the needles quickly lose their color due to UV exposure, turning a dull gray.
To learn more about mulch landscaping options contact a landscape design company like Nature's Design Landscaping.