Mulch Types Explained Advantages and Disadvantages

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If you’re one who says mulch is just mulch, no matter what type of mulch you lay on the ground. There are many different types With the proliferation of mulch choices on the market, consider these facts about organic and inorganic products before you buy.

Organic Mulches

Cypress Mulch
Advantages:
Attractive-looking, inexpensive and long-lasting. Chips are easy to apply.
Disadvantages:
Gardening experts do not recommend using this type of mulch because its harvest depletes cypress wetlands.
Average cost:
$1.49 per 2-cubic-foot bag, $19 per cubic yard.

Pine bark Mulch
Advantages:
This type of bark mulch is slow to decompose and generally lasts a year or more. Bark can be bought in different sizes, ranging from a fine grind to 2-inch nuggets.
Disadvantages:
Large chunks can float away from the mulched surface. Mulch can lower soil pH slightly.
Average cost:
$2.29 per 2-cubic-foot bag, $16 per cubic yard; pine chips, $18 per cubic yard.

ImageMunicipal tree trimmings
Advantages:
Generally free to the public and can be picked up from local landfills.
Disadvantages:
This type of mulch can decompose rapidly because of sawdust content in the mulch, and it may contain weed seed. If there’s a lot of fresh organic matter in the mulch, the area should be supplemented with fertilizer.
Average cost:
Free.

Mulch From Waste wood
Advantages:
Popularly called red mulch. It’s long-lasting and available in a variety of colors. The chips are dyed to match pine, hardwood, cypress or other mulch products. Wood chips don’t blow away easily.
Disadvantages:
While some manufacturers use only indigenous hardwoods, others mix a variety of woods along with construction debris that might include pressure-treated lumber. This material also decomposes faster than bark and requires the addition of nitrogen fertilizer.
Average cost:
$2.49 per 2-cubic-foot bag, $20 per cubic yard.

Melaleuca Mulch
Advantages:
Excellent mulch because of its long-lasting qualities. Laboratory tests show termites don’t like melaleuca. The product is sold under the name Florimulch.
Disadvantages:
Can be hard to find locally. Forestry Resources in Fort Myers produces and sells this mulch product.
Average cost:
$2 per 2-cubic-foot bag, $16 per cubic yard.

Yard waste Mulch (grass clippings, leaves, pine needles)
Advantages:
Free and adds nutrients to the soil. Grass clippings should be cut before seeds have ripened and should be applied dry. Pine needles are good for acid-loving plants, such as azaleas, gardenias and hydrangeas.
Disadvantages:
Can spread weed seeds; not as uniformly attractive as other mulches.
Average cost:
Free

compost in handHomemade Compost Mulch
Advantages:
It’s full of nutrients that are beneficial to plants.
Disadvantages:
It takes time for compost materials to decompose and be ready for use; but once in use, compost decomposes faster
than pine bark, cypress and wood chips.
Average cost:
Free.

Straw MulchStraw Mulch
Advantages:
Feed-quality hay is popular in gardens, inexpensive and can be tilled into garden beds after harvest.
Disadvantages:
Straw Mulch can be unattractive in ornamental landscape beds.
Average cost:
$4.85 per bale.

Eucalyptus Mulch
Advantages:
Eucalyptus oil reportedly repels termites, fleas, ticks and insects. Eucalyptus mulch is aromatic and maintains soil pH. The redwood color deepens with exposure to sunlight. American Eucalyptus Corp. sells shredded and fiber mulch. This mulch is propagated and regenerated on managed plantations.
Disadvantages:
Can be difficult to get hold of locally.
Average cost:
American-Eucalyptus Corp. sells a 2-cubic-foot bag for $3.97; 3-cubic foot bag, for $4.97

Inorganic Mulches

Inorganic mulch materials don’t add nutrients to soil and do not decompose readily.

Landscape fabrics
Advantages:
Plastic covers are laid over the soil surface to hold in moisture and prevent weed growth. Usually top-dressed with
another mulch. Some products are porous.
Disadvantages:
If the product isn’t porous, plant roots can suffocate and rot.
Average cost:
$20 per 6-by-50-foot roll.

rubber mulchRubber Mulch from Recycled rubber tires
Advantages:
Rubber Mulch is considered permanent because it doesn’t decompose or blow or wash away. Insects avoid this material, and it doesn’t sink into the ground like gravel or rocks. Comes in many colors.
Disadvantages:
Some products give off a strong odor. It’s hard to find locally.
Average cost:
$9 per 30-pound bag, which covers 7 1/2 square feet, 2 inches deep. American Rubber Technologies of Jacksonville
sells this product in small and large quantities.

pebblesStone, pebbles, gravel
Advantages:
Used for color, texture and stability. Creates a permanent cover. All rocks are fire-resistant. These products don’t break down in the soil.
Disadvantages:
Smaller pebbles may sink into the soil after time. Some rocks are hard to keep clean. Moving this type of mulch is heavy work.
Average cost:
White river gravel in 1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces in a 1/2-cubic-foot bag sells for $2.59. One 1/2-cubic-foot bag of red lava
rock is $2.99. White river rock in 1- to 2-inch sizes in a 1/2-cubic-foot bag is $2.99. Larger quantities and different
varieties of decorative rock are available from specialty ground-cover companies.


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2 Responses to “Mulch Types Explained Advantages and Disadvantages”

  1. […] Mulch Types Explained Advantages and Disadvantages posted at Home Life Weekly, saying, “If you’re one who says mulch is just mulch, no matter […]

  2. Thanks for all the useful information in this article. I learned a lot.

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