Landscaping, Garden Services, Landscape Design
Mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of an area of soil than has multiple purposes. It helps to conserve soil moisture, stabilize temperatures, reduce erosion, reduce soil compaction, and will also prevent weed growth. In addition, it adds to the look and feel of a landscape, creating a more dynamic design. Mulch can consist of organic materials, inorganic materials, or it can contain a combination of both. Any of these options can be done with or without an underlayment of landscape fabric which will help keep weeds at bay and prevent inorganic mulch from sinking into the soil. While landscape fabric can be useful, it is not effective in densely planted areas.
Organic mulch usually consists of wood products and the materials can range from pine needles, to bark, shredded cedar, or aspen chips. Any biological material can be used as mulch including compost or grass clippings. Wood chips are chopped up branches and tiny bits of plant. Although all of organic mulch is permeable, wood chips are better at retaining water due to their moisture retaining abilities in relation to other types of organic mulch. When around plants, wood chips help keep the ground moist between waterings as well as adding organic matter to the soil as they break down over time. Organic mulch is often lightweight and easy to install. Because it is a natural material, organic mulch might harbour insects but it doesn’t hold or radiate heat that could damage or dehydrate nearby plants. Depending on your preference and the landscaping design you want, organic mulch might be the best option for your property.
Inorganic mulch typically consists of different variations of rock products. In comparison to organic mulch, the inorganic type has an advantage in its lasting stability and permanence as it won’t break down over time into organic matter, especially during harsh Canadian winters. It is ideal to use in windy areas, however, due to its lack of permeability, inorganic mulch absorbs and radiates heat which can be detrimental to your garden. Pebble mulch, or gravel is typically used to create pathways. Unlike cement or asphalt, it allows for water to drain through. Rock mulch can be used for perennial plants create a warm microclimate by giving off heat at night that they absorbed during the day. The shade of the stone varies and darker stones absorb more heat. This should be taken into consideration when choosing the type of rock mulch you want for your property. The final type we will mention here is pumice rock mulch. Unlike regular rock mulch, pumice is lightweight and porous which allows it to trap and retain moisture. It is usually typically used in flower beds and perennial garden beds. Pumice rock does absorb some heat from the sun but not as much when compared to other rocks.
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