Mulch is a gardener's best friend and the ultimate time-saver. We all know mulch is a great way to save water and deter weeds, but there are many other ways in which mulching can benefit your garden. Mulching improves soil moisture, reduces erosion and compaction and provides nutrients to your plants. It's also highly decorative and provides an unbeatable soft landing in outdoor play areas.
But which is the best mulch for your garden? When choosing the ideal mulch for your garden and landscaping needs, it's a great idea to first work out where you're planning to use it and what you're hoping to achieve.
If you have worked hard to create a beautiful garden bed, the last thing you want is an invasion of weeds! Thankfully, mulch is a highly effective way of keeping weeds at bay. It acts as a barrier from weeds growing up from beneath the soil and prevents seed heads that have been blown in the wind from taking up root in your garden bed.
Taking the time to put down a good layer of mulch in your garden should produce a dramatic decrease in weeds. One of the best mulches to prevent weeds in your garden is wood chips, also known as wooden mulch. Wood chips, including graded fine bark or pine mulch, won't decompose as quickly as other mulch types, giving you a long-term solution to weed control.
Around garden beds
Sure, mulch will enhance your soil and support plant growth, but it can also be used as a decorative feature in garden beds.
Decorative mulches like dyed red mulch or dyed black mulch can be used in contrast to the greenery in your garden and may also be used to enhance a focal point within your garden design. You can use decorative mulches in between stepping stones, in and around garden beds, bordering pavements and mixed with rocks or gravel for an instant backyard facelift.
Dyed mulches are perfect for aesthetic landscaping purposes as they retain their colour. They're also suitable for most garden situations so what not add a splash of colour and have some fun with your next project?
Whether it's for use in a backyard or recreational reserve, mulch is a great way to provide a soft landing for children.
Different from garden-variety mulches, playground mulch or soft fall mulch is designed specifically for high-traffic areas. It is generally produced from ground natural wood such as pine and hardwood woodchip making it incredibly durable and low-maintenance.
Soft fall mulch is specifically developed for use in playgrounds and is cleaned from contaminants, making it safe for both kids and pets. A great alternative to sand and grass in high-traffic areas, soft fall mulch is often installed in school play areas, public playgrounds and walking paths.
If you have pets
When it comes to choosing the best mulch for your garden, what might be great for your plants may not be so great for your furry friends!
Some mulch varieties can be toxic for pets if ingested. If you're looking to mulch your garden, but you own dogs or cats, the best mulch for your garden will be wood-based mulch. These varieties, including pine and cedar, are non-toxic making them safer for dogs and other pets. We would recommend avoiding recycled mulch as it may contain traces of construction material that could be harmful if ingested.
Keep in mind that most dogs are chewers too, particularly when they're still puppies. So, while wood-based mulch is safe for pets, it can still pose a serious choking hazard. Always supervise pets around mulch or keep them contained in a space away from mulched areas.
In the veggie patch
Mulching a vegetable garden is recommended for several reasons.
- It reduces moisture loss from the soil surface
- Helps to aid plant growth.
- Helps insulate plants for stronger growth.
- Some mulch varieties release nutrients into your garden once they've broken down.
One of the best mulches for vegetable gardens is a simple combination of newspaper clippings and straw. You can also use pine needles, grass clippings, leaves and compost to keep your vegetable garden healthy and happy.