Which Mulch Should I Use?

As warmer temperatures inspire us to leave our indoor cocoons, thoughts turn to the annual ritual of landscape mulch. With so many choices of mulch on the market, how do you choose which kind is right for you?

Most mulch made from trees will provide protection and nutrients for your plants, shrubs, and trees, as well as provide moisture retention, soil conditioning, erosion, and weed control. Mulch also provides a finished and aesthetic appeal to landscapes.

After purchasing mulch from a reputable company, the kind of mulch you choose then becomes a personal choice.

TRADITIONAL – Traditional, non-colored mulches such as Cedar, Cypress, and Premium Hardwood varieties provide a soft, muted, natural look to landscapes. These mulches are easy to spread and require no curing time before watering. Cedar and Cypress mulches also give off an appealing aromatic scent that many people prefer.

COLOR – Another choice is colorized mulch, available in traditional, Black, Brown, Red, and Gold. These mulches offer more aesthetic appeal. Mulch dyed with non-toxic, vegetable-based colorant is safe to use and will not hurt plants, pets, or children.

Preparation for color mulches

Color mulches do need a little more care in the beginning. They need a curing time of 24-48 hours after spreading to allow the color to completely permeate the mulch and become stable. Don’t let this mulch come in contact with concrete or other porous surfaces until it is cured.

It is a good idea to plan to use colored mulch when the rain will not be a threat for a couple of days.

However, after the curing time, the colored mulch is stable and will provide long-lasting color throughout the season.

Choose color mulches to enhance or contrast your home’s color and/or to make your landscaping pop. Recent landscape trends suggest mixing two-colored mulches for a unique, “confetti” appearance.

Mulch serves practical and aesthetic purposes

Many people choose to use different mulches in their landscape for both curb appeal and organic purposes. For example, traditional or color mulch may be used for plantings, while in high traffic areas you may want to use an Economy Mulch that is chunkier and will break down more slowly. While this mulch is not known for its nutritional value, it will still provide other benefits.

No matter whether you use a color-enhanced mulch or a traditional non-colored mulch, be sure to use a good quality mulch that will provide all the benefits it should to your landscape.