A fresh layer of mulch on garden and landscape beds makes the entire yard look neat and tidy. Along with adding texture and appeal, mulch has many benefits.
- Retains moisture for plants
- Helps suppress weeds
- Regulates soil temperature
- Enriches the soil
- Adds visual appeal to landscape
When to Mulch
Mulching can be done any time of the year. Spring and fall mulching is popular to make things nice for spring and help protect plants for winter.
How Much Mulch
Ideally, a two to three-inch layer of mulch should be applied over bare soil. Add a one to two-inch layer to existing mulch to top-dress the area. More than that is counterproductive; large piles of mulch get hot and can create problems for plant roots beneath. Thick layers may also impede water and air flow.
- Never pile too much mulch around trees and plants. Kkeep mulch one to two inches away from stems and trunks.
- Never put down a layer of mulch thicker than four inches.
Types of Mulch
The main difference in mulch varieties is the time each takes to break down into soil. Premium mulches contain less wood and more bark, but all bark is not necessarily longer lasting; it depends on the type of tree it’s from.
English Gardens Pine Bark
This aromatic, rich reddish-brown pine bark mulch is our most popular and fairly unique to the market. It spreads very well and hold its color for most of the season. Pine Bark enriches the soil, as it breaks down and turns to rich soil.
English Gardens Hardwood Mulch
Hardwood Mulch usually has a somewhat sweet smell. It is composed of dark brown, long narrow pieces of bark that lock together well, making an effective weed barrier. Hardwood mulch tends to age by changing from dark brown to silvery gray throughout the season. Hardwood will eventually decompose into soil but slower than pine bark mulch.
Cedar Mulch – Mulchex
Cedar Mulch is reddish-tan and a mix of shredded bark and shredded wood. It’s also rot-resistant, which means it takes quite a while to decompose into soil. One application can last for years! Cedar, like hardwood mulch, will fade in color and usually needs annual top-dressing.
Lumber Jack Cypress Mulch
Cypress is a rot-resistant wood, which means it takes a long time to decompose. Cypress mulch is yellowish in color and is a mix of wood and bark. The color of cypress will fade and will need an annual top dressing to look fresh.
Cocoa Shell Mulch
Compared to wood mulch, cocoa shells are small and finely textured, with an intoxicating smell of chocolate – at least for a couple weeks after being put down. Cocoa shell mulch is the only mulch that will not fade in color, but will go from a rich milk chocolate brown to a dark chocolate black. It will decompose to enrich the soil. The fine texture quickly binds together, forming an impressive weed barrier that does not blow away. But note: avoid using cocoa shell mulch if you have pets; it may be harmful if ingested.
Pine Needle Mulch or Pine Straw
Collected from beneath pine trees, the reddish-tan long needles are naturally acidic, making it a very good weed inhibitor. Pine needle mulch stays put and usually does not break down. Pine needles are great for paths, under trees and around acid-loving plants like evergreens, azaleas and rhododendrons.
Color-Enhanced Hardwood Mulch
The dyes used to color mulches are all organic and food grade, making them safe around pets and wildlife. English Gardens offers four types of colored hardwood mulch which holds color all season.
- Classic Red: a subdued, dark red.
- Classic Brown: browner color than natural hardwood.
- Classic Black: dark black color that looks like rich topsoil.
- Black Sable Ultra-Fine Ultra Black: triple shredded mulch with dark black color that looks like rich topsoil.