Hardwood Mulch Offers Many Advantages

Mulch is a great way to keep weeds at bay and ensure your yard looks well-kept, but not all mulches – not even all hardwood mulches – are created equal.

They all provide insulation and retain moisture, but they decompose differently and some offer more benefits than others.

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Organic mulches, which include hardwood mulch chips and bark, offer nourishment to the soil and plants as the chips decompose. Trees and landscaped beds tend to fare better during high winds with hardwood mulch because they keep the soil in place. This also allows plants to establish deep roots and grow as healthy as possible. Heavier mulches like hardwood tend to resist heavy rains, too, so you won’t need to replace mulch that has floated away.

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Hardwood mulches come primarily from the bark of the tree which is often a byproduct of the sawmill industry and also from recycled shredded wood, including poplar, red and white oak, and maple trees.

Hardwood mulch tends to decompose faster than pine or cedar bark mulch because they have a higher cellulose content, which decays when exposed to air and water. This type of mulch is reasonably priced and used often in city and town landscaping projects.

Hardwood Mulch in Flower Bed
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Unlike some other types of mulch, hardwood mulch tends to become more alkaline as it decomposes, which benefits plants that do not need a high level of acid in the soil. Usually, chips and shavings gray as time passes. Hardwood mulch does not require a great deal of maintenance, but it should be turned about once per year to aerate the mulch and then replaced annually or every couple of years.

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In some cases hardwood mulch can create nitrogen deficiencies in the soil, so it is important to consider where you use it and what plants are in the area. If you prefer the look of hardwood mulch, you can keep the nitrogen issues at bay by adding grass clipping or nitrogen-rich fertilizers in the area.

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