Wood chips are good mulch materials for shrub beds and the area surrounding trees. They are not advisable on flower and vegetable beds.
Using wood chips means you don’t have to worry about replacement anytime soon because they don’t break down easily.
You’re in luck!
When wood chips do break down, they will slowly provide nutrients to the soil, which will then trickle down to the roots of the shrub or trees.
Apply the mulch as wood chips at a depth of four to six inches. It will take a few weeks for it to settle.
Spread the wood chips around the trees and not on them. Form a donut around the tree using the mulch so that not a single one touches the bark of the tree.
Diseases might develop during contact due to the moisture present on tree trunks.
Any potential problems?
There are concerns that diseases of the wood used as wood chips may transfer to the tree it is used as mulch for.
According to experts, this is highly unlikely. But if there are concerns about this, this is why you don’t let the wood chips touch the bark of the tree.
Think about this:
Mulch is applied on the soil and not on a tree or plant.
Here’s an advice:
Since wood chips tend to have different colors, especially if they are sourced from different trees, dye the color so that it will look really neat on the shrub bed or around your trees.
If you have trees and plants in your yard, then it’s perfect! While you clean your yard, you can use the leaves as mulch.
Wood chipper shredders and lawn mowers have the capability to process leaves into mulch.
It really is that simple
This type of mulch would be great for flower gardens or vegetable gardens. They can also work on shrubs, around trees and even in potted plants.
Mulch made from leaves can be used in whatever plant you are caring for.
Shredded leaves can be applied to the beds at two to three inches of depth. Don’t let it touch any part of the body of the plant.
As earlier mentioned
Mulch is for the soil, not for the actual plant. Although, the plant will eventually benefit from it.
By the way
If you have an extra supply of leaves, you can use them in preparing a compost to be used as fertilizer.
If you have a grass lawn, then it’s just a perfect way to complement your garden. Grass clippings can make great mulch.
Incidentally, the grass clippings would be a great mulch for the lawn.
Grass clippings as mulch provides nitrogen, which is needed by the lawn.
The mulch adds phosphorus to the lawn to make it healthier.
And potassium, too. This makes the grass thicker and stronger.
If you have a large lawn, then grass clippings would be a great component for a mulch.
The mulch could be used in the lawn and extra ones could be placed in the garden.
If you have weed growing in your lawn, then chances are you would be clipping them too when you mow the grass.
This means you might be spreading weed back to the lawn when you spread your mulch.
Compost is generally utilized as a fertilizer. You mix it with your soil to ensure that you have a good and healthy soil to support plants.
But if you have extra compost, you can use this as mulch.
Since it is already a healthy component, it can only be good for your soil.
Use only a thin layer of compost to your garden. In order to maximize its effects, it would be a good idea to top this with another thin layer of shredded leaves.
Mulch made from straw would be good for the vegetable garden.
Since it’s a vegetable garden, it is expected to have rows of the plants. Place the straw mulch in between rows with a layer that reaches three to six inches.
When the layer is reduced, add another level of straw. The material decomposes quite quickly.
Make sure the straw doesn’t touch the leaves and stems of the vegetable plants to prevent fungus from growing.
Also known as non-organic, this type of mulch is produced from synthetic materials or those that have never been “living.” As opposed to its counterpart, this type of mulch doesn’t break down.
Here are the types of inorganic mulch:
Rocks are the most popular inorganic mulch. One reason for that is because it can really elevate the look of the garden.
A lot of people use rock or gravel for the flower garden or landscape beds.
But the effect is just gorgeous!
This is probably the most important reason for using rock mulch: aesthetics.
The trick is:
The more beautiful the rocks are, the more beautiful the landscape will look like.
Of course, decorative rocks are not going to be cheap.
But it’s worth it
Especially if your purpose for growing plants is aesthetics. If you want a beautiful yard or garden, then elevate it with the rock mulch.
Just like other forms of mulch, it also suppresses weed.
Although, rocks may absorb the heat from the sun and may cause the soil to dry out.
You can only use rock mulch on drought-resistant plants. Also, make sure the rocks don’t directly touch the stem of the plant.
This is very effective in preventing weed from growing. But it may not look as attractive.
It’s just a sheet of plastic after all.
It’s quite difficult for air, water and nutrients to penetrate the soil. It also doesn’t leave enough space for the soil to breathe.
While it could work on some plants, you probably shouldn’t use this on shrubs and trees with large roots.
It works much like the plastic sheeting because it covers the soil the same way. But unlike the plastic, the fabric allows the air and water to penetrate the soil.
Just be careful because the fabric could easily rip.
On the other hand
A landscape fabric isn’t attractive, but it isn’t unattractive either. It’s just neutral.
Most people use old tires for the rubber mulch. It can prevent weed from sprouting and it can retain soil moisture.
A rubber will decompose for 50 to 80 years. So if you could recycle rubber and use it as mulch, then at least you could help reduce waste.
Which Mulch Works Better?
Generally, anything natural is always better. But it’s your garden, so it’s your choice!
Your choice hinges on a few factors:
When it comes to cost, inorganic mulch is generally cheaper because you don’t have to replace it as much as you have to with the organic one.
Organic mulch decomposes eventually, so you have to replace it.
If you have your own compost, then you might be able to save on expense for the mulch. Then you wouldn’t need to worry about recurring costs.
Choosing inorganic mulch means one-time cost.
Maintenance works the same way. You would need more maintenance when it comes to organic mulch.
But it is generally better for your soil and plants.
As far as aesthetics is concerned, you actually have control over that. By applying colors on the mulch, it can help your garden look more polished.
When it is colored, it will fade over a period of time, so you also have to regularly refresh it.
Both organic and inorganic mulch can help prevent weed from cropping up, retain soil moisture, and protect plants during winter.
However, only the organic mulch can actually add nutrients to the soil to help plants grow healthy.
Initially, inorganic mulch may cost you more, especially if you don’t have the means to get the materials for free. However, in the long run, it would come out to be more inexpensive because you don’t have to regularly replenish them.
At the same time, you cannot deny the natural benefits you can get from organic mulch. There are different kinds of mulch with one working better than the other on a certain kind of plant or trees.
It is therefore important that you are well-versed in the topic of mulches so you know which type will work best for your garden or yard.
Whatever kind of mulch you end up choosing, you have to know that you are helping the world reduce waste by utilizing waste and debris that would have reached landfills. Mulch is good for your soil and plants, and it is also good for the environment.
If you have a small yard, an electric chipper shredder can help you make wood chips. If you want an affordable and safe machine, you might prefer the Power Smart PS10. Or maybe the Sun Joe Chipper CJ601E may be more to your preference.