Mulching, or gardening with compost, is a multi-purpose landscaping approach based on nature.
Have you ever stepped off the trail in a forest, and noticed how the forest floor feels under the trees? It is soft and cushy. This is nature’s compost – leaves fall from trees to protect the earth below. The fallen leaves help keep moisture in while moderating the effects of heat and cold on the soil surface. Over time, as leaves break down, organic matter replenishes the soil. Year after year, new layers of natural leaf mulch are added to continue this cycle.
You easily can allow the same natural cycle to enrich your garden, but some homeowners have objections. Perhaps they find the decomposing leaves to be unsightly or maybe their plants don’t produce enough leaf matter to enable natural composting to happen.
Mulch compost can be organic or inorganic. Organic compost can consist of leaves, bark, wood chippings, manure, compost, straw, pine needles, newspaper or cardboard. Inorganic mulch is made of plastic in various forms, and quite often comes in the form of rubber pellets or chips.
Colored mulch often is chosen for aesthetic reasons, with black and red variants being the most common colorations. Some gardeners swear that black keeps the soil warmer in winter, and fans of red claim it reflects sun onto the plants, encouraging more growth.
While colored varieties can be attractive, we generally recommend natural mulch, for three main reasons:
Mulching is an evolutionary process with wonderful garden benefits. YardDoc recommends mulching twice a year; in spring to defend against the hottest summer weather, and then again in fall to protect plants and soil from the winter cold.
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