Roll out the wheelbarrow, slide on your gardening gloves and reach for a shovel—it's time to mulch your plants and trees!
Well, it’s almost time. Sure, you may have the tools ready to go, but have you ever taken a moment to learn about all the different types of mulch and their pros and cons.
If not, don’t sweat it. Now’s a great time to read up on the various types of mulch and decide which one’s right for your landscape
Chances are you’ve heard about the many benefits of mulch (or if you haven’t, read about why you should absolutely mulch your plants and trees here.)
But, what about different colors and types of mulch? Are there benefits to using organic vs. inorganic, red instead of black, or rocks in place of wood chips? Let’s dig into all of these questions to help you find the best pick.
Lots of gardeners have their theories about the advantages of colored mulch. Some vegetable growers have said that red mulch works wonders on certain fruits, and some say black mulch is the best at warming up the soil in winter. There’s even research on it. This study concluded that red mulch did actually help grow more tomatoes and make sweeter strawberries than black mulch.
That being said, more often than not people flock to brown, black or red-colored mulch just for the look of it. Adding color to garden beds helps make plants and trees pop while still providing all the benefits mulch offers.
Ultimately, when it comes to choosing a colored mulch, there are just a few need-to-knows:
The makeup of your mulch does matter. Here’s why—organic mulch breaks down into the soil over time, adding in nutrients. But inorganic mulch doesn’t dissolve, so soil quality pretty much stays the same.
Both types of mulch have their advantages, which can help you pick the right option.
Five things you should know about organic mulches (such as bark, grass clippings, wood chips or leaves) are that they:
Six things you should know about inorganic mulches (such as stones, gravel or landscape fabric) are that they:
The best mulch is the one that meets the unique needs of your landscape. Take stock of your plants to figure out what you need. If you’re relying on looks alone to cover your garden beds, a colored or inorganic mulch might be right for you. If growing flowers and fruits is your main goal, you should reach for organic mulch.
Whatever the case, when you choose to mulch, your plants will thank you!