Mulch is a great addition to your landscape, because it can protect your plants and help them maintain health and aesthetics. Mulch locks in moisture, preventing soil and roots from drying out. It also improved the beauty of your lawn. Keep your plants hydrated with our selection of mulch.
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Advantages Of Using Mulch
If you take a close look at your neighbor’s immaculate landscaping, you’ll probably notice one, if not several, types of mulch artfully and purposefully placed in all the right spots. This mulch not only serves to make the landscaping look manicured and neat, but also to help the plants in a few ways:
Mulch helps prevent water loss from evaporation in the soil, which allows you to conserve water and helps your plants maintain proper hydration.
When mulch is weed-free and applied correctly, it can help suppress weed growth in landscaping.
Mulches insulate the soil, keeping it cool in the summer and warm in the winter, helping to maintain an even soil temperature and prevent shock to plants.
Organic mulches, things made from natural materials like bark or cocoa shells, can improve soil structure as they decompose, adding nutrients and topsoil.
Mulch can help aid in absorption of water and aeration to the soil.
Creating a beautiful landscape is the goal of many homeowners, and mulch helps to create structure, boundaries, texture and color to your plantings.
Choosing a Mulch
There are several common types of mulch widely available to home gardeners. These include bark, wood chips, sawdust, straw, coco or buckwheat hulls, and landscaping plastic or fabric. Each has their pros and cons, and each has a best use.
Bark Mulches and woodchips: Usually found in large chunks, bark and wood chips are best used around trees or shrubs because of their availability, compaction resistance, and blowing resistance. Bark mulches stay better looking longer than woodchips, and people will often reapply a new layer of woodchips each year, causing compaction issues and injuring plants. Woodchips can reduce nitrogen in the soil, so adding nitrogen while using woodchips is often a good idea. Both of these mulches are widely available and relatively inexpensive; some municipalities stockpile woodchips and are often free to haul away.
Black plastic or landscaping fabrics: These are common in vegetable gardens or small plantings, and help in the same ways as other mulches but especially in weed suppression. They’re often covered with small stones, pebbles, or other materials for aesthetic reasons.
Sawdust, fine bark or woodchips, cocoa shells, buckwheat hulls: These are most often applied in flowerbeds for their aesthetically pleasing qualities. Sawdust and other fine materials have a tendency to compact and suffocate plants. Cocoa shells and buckwheat hulls have limited availability and can be expensive compared to other materials.
Combination products: Some mulches contain grass seed and are applied to prevent erosion and encourage healthy lawn and turf growth. Called hydromulch, they are often applied with a sprayer and create a layer of materials usually comprised of recycled paper, wood, and straw.
Using Mulch Correctly: Basic Guidelines
Mulch application will vary based on what type you choose and the plants you’re using it for. However, generally, applying mulch immediately after planting is usually best. For existing plants, add mulch in early spring. Reapplication rates depend on the material; a quick decomposing material will have to be applied more often, and the more established your plants are, the less mulch material you will have to use. Follow these general guidelines for mulch:
Spread an even layer of material over the designated area
Keep mulch a few inches away from woody plant stems
Don’t apply mulch right next to exterior walls; leave about six inches of space.
Trees require more mulch than other plants. Ideally, apply 6-12 inches beyond the drip line of the tree (directly down from the outer branches.)
Fine mulches should not be more than three inches in depth to avoid suffocating the roots of the plants. Large mulches like bark and wood chips can be up to four inches in depth since they allow for proper air circulation.
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