Mulch is often overlooked even though it adds many benefits to your landscaping. Using the proper mulch, either natural or rock mulch, can:
- Reduce or eliminate weeds
- Conserves moisture
- Protects plants and shrubs
- Slows erosion
- Add nutrients and organic materials to soil
- Helps define landscape areas in your yard
- Makes your landscape look finished
There are many different kinds of mulch however most people use one of kinds, bark mulch or stone mulch. Each of these styles have their own benefits and drawbacks.
Bark mulch (organic) is made by shredding different types of trees such as cypress, pine, hemlock, or eucalyptus. It comes in many different colors that can add a ‘pop’ to your yard. Bark mulch retains moisture and will help your gardens through dry periods while reducing the amount of watering you need to do. Many varieties are also a natural deterrent to pests that can damage your plants, shrubs, and trees. Over time organic mulch slowly composts adding nutrients into your soil.
On the downside, organic mulch needs regular replacement, usually once or twice a year. The bright color you started with will fade over time and it is light weight and can wash or blow away in high exposure areas.
Rock mulch comes in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Because of its weight, stone mulch rarely washes or blows away and because it doesn’t decompose, it is a more permanent addition to your landscape. Stone mulch works well as pathways, around fire pits, in patios spaces, or in areas where you need extra drainage like around downspouts or around water features.
The drawbacks to rock mulch is that once it’s installed, it can be difficult to plant plants. Stone mulch also absorbs heat so care must be taken when using around plants.