Mulch Types Advantages And Disadvantages

Mulch is not only beautiful. In a flower garden, it retains moisture in the soil, a loose non-caking layer even 3–5 cm thick significantly reduces evaporation. In the dry heat, which often happens in summer, this is simply salvation if you have limited water use. let discuss mulch types and their advantages and disadvantages.

mulch types advantages disadvantages

5 advantages to use mulch

  1. Prevents the formation of soil crust , which impedes seed germination, reduces oxygen supply to plant roots and increases moisture evaporation.
  2. Suppresses the growth of weeds. Seeds of annual weeds hardly germinate through the layer of mulch, and the rhizomes of perennial weeds are pulled out much more easily than from bare soil.
  3. Reduces soil erosion when the site is located on a slope or it rains heavily.
  4. Smoothes temperature fluctuations . Under a layer of mulch, the ground freezes perceptibly longer, and in summer it overheats less, which is important for some crops, for example, clematis.
  5. Decorates the site. Correctly selected color of mulch becomes an excellent background for the garden, the inhabitants of the flower garden, and the covered surface gives the garden a well-groomed, neat look.

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what is mulching and its advantages?

In early spring, you need to remove plant debris from flower beds, carefully weed out the weeds. Then shed the planting, embed complex fertilizer in the soil, and then distribute the mulching material.

The mulch should not touch the trunks and stems of the plants, otherwise, they can rot. The layer of mulching material depends on the composition of the soil. On loams, it should be no more than 2 cm, on light soils it can be thicker: for grass 7–10 cm, for other materials 3–6 cm. 

Having finished mulching, it is advisable to install a suitable fence around the flower garden say, aside, medium-sized boulders or limestone, processed logs.

In summer, the mulch does not need to be touched. Mulch is not removed under trees, shrubs, perennials; a new layer can be added next year.

Mulch types Advantages and Disadvantages

Cut grass Mulch

Advantages: The grass mass can be composted, but it is better to use it to cover the soil. By re-fermenting, the grass works as an organic fertilizer.

Disadvantages: the grass is caked and quickly overheated.

During the warm season, you need to add 3-4 times.

Layer thickness: freshly cut grass can be laid 10–15 cm, it settles down to 4–5 cm in just a few days.

Coniferous litter Mulch

Pine is preferable – it is looser and takes longer to decompose.

Advantages: looks pretty, cost-free, keeps the topsoil loose for a long time.

Disadvantages: decomposes quickly, requires adding 1-2 times a year. There is some chance of bringing pathogens and pests with it.

Prolonged use in large quantities, it makes the soil reaction more acidic.

Layer thickness for coniferous litter: 5–7 cm.

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Leaf litter Mulch

Foliage is one of the most readily available types of mulch. Especially suitable for bulb and garden orchids. It can be used as a covering material. You cannot use very large leaves, for example, Norway maple, as mulch: they aggregate into one impenetrable layer, drowning out perennials.

The best leaf litter is oak. It makes the soil loose and structured, does not cake, and takes longer to decompose.

Advantages: Free.

Disadvantages: Decomposes very quickly.

Layer thickness for leaf litter: about 7-10 cm.

Sawdust Mulch

Before use, they must be soaked with a solution of ammonium nitrate or urea, so that when overheating they can use the introduced nitrogen.

sawdust mulch

Pros: Free stuff.

Cons: too small, caking, can oppress plants since nitrogen is pulled out of the soil during decomposition. Light, which greatly complicates the thawing of the soil in spring. It is better to use sawdust, not around plants but to cover garden paths or beds in order to dig it up with the soil at the end of the season.

Layer thickness for sawdust: 3-5 cm.

Wood chips Mulch

These are pieces of wood that are larger than sawdust. Pros: Decomposes slowly, uses less nitrogen. Loose, not caking. Over time, it darkens (and it becomes more beautiful, more neutral in tone). Aesthetic. Cons: at first it will slow down the spring thawing of the soil. Quite an expensive pleasure. Requires supplementation every 1-2 years. Layer thickness: 3-5 cm.

Bark Mulch

These are chips, bark, usually of conifers. There are different factions, you can use everything, depending on the conditions.

Pros: slowly decomposes, excellent friability, excellent color, beautiful and dark, which contributes to warming up the soil in spring.

Cons: high price. It is necessary to renew it once every 2-3 years, the smaller the fraction, the more often.

Bark layer thickness: 3-5 cm.

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Campfire Mulch

A by-product of the production of hemp is mainly cellulose.

Pros: light in weight, saturates the soil with macro-and microelements, protects plants from diseases and pests (for example, slugs cannot crawl over a dry fire), and retains moisture. Decorative, emphasizes the contrast of plants in flower beds.

Layer thickness: 2-3 cm.

Humus, compost Mulch

Pros: An excellent mulch, if you made it yourself and correctly, is also a top dressing.

Cons: and humus and compost may contain weed seeds. In this case, there will be more problems than benefits from such mulch. You will have to add it once a year.

Layer thickness: 3-5 cm.

Peat Mulch

High moor peat is suitable for mulching, it is loose.

Pros: relatively cheap.

Cons: acidic, acidifies the soil. So light that it can be blown away by strong winds when it dries up. Top-up once a season.

Layer thickness: 5–6 cm.

Fine gravel (0.5-1.5 cm) Mulch

This is an excellent mulch for a rock garden. It is better not to use dark rocks, many alpine plants do not like overheating of the soil.

Small particles quickly go into the soil, so bedding is required once a season.

Layer thickness: 2-3 cm.

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Synthetic materials Mulch

It can be considered another type of mulch. These are various nonwoven covering materials such as “spunbond” and “lutrasil”. By themselves, they will not add beauty to the garden but will help get rid of weeds. In flower beds and in plantings of shrubs, between the soil and mulch, the non-woven material is laid with an intermediate layer. In this case, the life of the mulch is greatly extended: organic mulch decomposes more slowly, and mineral mulch does not mix with the soil.