Mulch is an exceptional tool in your landscaping arsenal. It comes with numerous benefits, including stifling weeds, maintaining soil temperature and creating a more cohesive appearance, to name a few. But, unfortunately, not all mulch is created equally – and those who begin searching for the right ground covering find this out all too quickly. Thankfully, we’re here to help you uncover the answer to which mulch is best. The answer is high-quality natural mulch.
Natural mulch is often called organic, and even amongst natural variations, not all options are created equally. Every provider of natural brown mulch will tell you that their product is the superior option. But, at Lumberjacks, we don’t think simply telling you that we provide the best natural hardwood mulch is enough. We want to give you the information you need to decide for yourself.
Below, we comprehensively explain what natural mulch is, how to determine its quality and where to find it near you. If you’d like to learn more about the mulch carefully crafted at Lumberjacks specifically, you can click the button below.
Why Identifying High-Quality Natural Mulch Matters
We believe it’s crucial that you know what you’re purchasing. After all, knowledge is one of the keys to feeling confident in a purchasing decision. This is especially true for purchases meant to serve multiple purposes and, in the case of mulch, will be on full display for all to see. We want you to look out over your lawn or outdoor space and feel good about your mulch’s appearance and performance.
The right natural brown mulch will provide more benefits than a cheaper, chemical-filled, potentially bug-ridden bagged option. The right mulch will add nutrients to your soil, so all your plants thrive. It will stop weeds before they can suffocate your garden and keep the soil at an optimal temperature.
So, how can you identify which natural mulch is high quality and which isn’t worth your time? Let’s get into it…
Natural Mulch vs. Inorganic Mulch
There are many types of mulch you could use in your outdoor space. A quick online search will show you dozens of potential mulch types for your yard. But every kind of mulch will be divided into two categories: natural or inorganic.
Simply put, natural mulch is anything related to or derived from living matter. Inorganic mulch is everything else and includes products crafted in large factories.
Pros and Cons of Both Mulch Types
Don’t get us wrong – inorganic mulch can have its uses. But we don’t believe your garden beds or vegetable plots are one of them. This is because natural mulch does much more than make your yard look nice. It also adds essential nutrients to the soil as it decomposes, allowing plants and flowers to thrive. Plus, it does better at moisture retention and temperature regulation than the fake stuff.
The only real downside to natural or organic mulch is that it needs to be topped off annually. We didn’t use the word “replaced” because you don’t need to remove last year’s mulch before laying new. The old mulch will continue to decompose beneath the vibrant fresh layer and quietly feed your plants. But since that annual renewal comes with so many benefits, we don’t think it’s a significant determining factor.
The upside to inorganic mulch would be that it could, theoretically, last forever. But this isn’t often the case because weather events causing soil erosion can cause inorganic mulch to slowly ebb away. The downside to choosing inorganic options? It doesn’t come with any of the added benefits of organic garden mulch.
Natural Mulch Examples and Best Uses
The most beneficial type of natural mulch is hardwood, which is practical and aesthetically pleasing. This option is crafted from the wood or bark of hardwood trees and tends to last longer than softwood variations. Hardwood includes birch, oak, cherry and hickory. Softwood trees include cedar, pine, hemlock and spruce.
Other natural mulch variations include things like compost, dried straw and leaves. These may be a great base layer for vegetable garden plots, but we don’t generally recommend them because they have the potential to mold.
Natural mulch is the best option in most scenarios for the above reasons and many more. A few examples of best uses include:
- Flower beds
- Vegetable gardens
- Creating natural pathways
- Lining the driveway or sidewalks
- Defining a lawn seating area
- Highlight the centerpiece of your outdoor space
Inorganic Mulch Examples and Considerations
Inorganic mulch generally includes rocks, plastics and landscaping fabrics. While most situations warrant natural mulch, there may be a few times when inorganic mulch is the better option.
One primary example is in a playground or around children’s outdoor play equipment. Special rubber mulch explicitly designed for this purpose is often safer, as natural mulch variations have sharp edges.
In some instances, natural mulch can be accented by inorganic mulch examples. For these situations, the inorganic options are purely for decoration but can be a nice aesthetic touch. For example, you may use small pebbles along the edges of your flower beds to create a border while utilizing natural mulch throughout the interior.
Determining Natural Mulch Quality
Now that you know the difference between natural and inorganic mulch varieties, how can you determine the quality? What separates the high-quality natural mulch from the low-quality options? Here’s what to look for…
Choose Bulk Over Bagged
Bulk mulch is superior to bagged options for two main reasons: quality and convenience.
See, bagged mulch options are mass-produced in factories that may or may not be local. Determining whether the mulch was locally sourced can be a hassle if it’s possible at all. (See the next point to see why this is important.) Plus, you don’t really know what you’re getting. Bagged options have been known to include bits of construction debris, chemicals and even bugs. You don’t want that in your garden.
On the other hand, bulk mulch is often locally sourced and processed. After all, it would be hard to transport loose mulch over great distances – transportation is one of the main reasons for the bags. Plus, it’s easier to see what you’re getting, so you can be sure the quality is good.
Bulk mulch can often be delivered to your location, too. If you’ve been searching for “organic mulch delivery near me,” you’ve come to the right place. Lumberjacks delivers! That eradicates the need to heft heavy mulch bags around your local garden center.
Besides, when was the last time you only needed one bag of mulch? Chances are high you’ll need several bags and either end up with too much mulch or not enough. Bulk mulch allows you to order exactly what you need. Of course, if you’re unsure how much that is, our handy mulch calculator can help!
Opt For Local Retailers
Local retailers are your best choice for finding bulk mulch, but they’re also those most likely to utilize local wood sourcing. Getting mulch made from local wood is crucial because it eradicates the possibility of introducing invasive species into your region.
Why are invasive species bad? Well, on a larger scale, they disrupt the local ecosystem and food chain. This can lead to widespread environmental damage and hardship. One example is the brown marmorated stink bug, accidentally introduced to the U.S. in the 1990s. It inflicted $37 million in damage to the tree fruit industry in the Mid-Atlantic.
On a smaller scale? They’ll eat through your plant’s leaves and destroy your flower beds. They can render your vegetable garden fruitless and even kill the trees in your outdoor space. Not only does that look bad, but it’s also a safety hazard.
Ensure Mulch Is Pure and Clean
When you order natural mulch, you should only be getting mulch. You don’t want to find plastics, construction debris, chemicals or bugs and their larvae.
But how can you tell the natural mulch you hope to purchase is truly pure and clean? Thankfully, it’s as simple as taking these two steps:
Step 1: Ask
A company representative should be able to tell you if their mulch is pure and pesticide-free. They should also know what steps are taken to ensure the mulch stays that way. Looking at a company’s website is another easy way to ensure this.
Step 2: Check
Go to a company’s physical location and browse through their mulch piles. Walk around and glance at the piles with a discerning eye. Does everything look like it should? Do you see only mulch with no suspicious materials mixed in? Great! You’re all set!
Should Be Processed In-House
When a company processes all its mulch in-house, it can ensure the highest quality of every individual piece it sells. This shows you, the consumer, that the company takes great pride in its product and wants to deliver its best. Oh, and it also helps ensure consistency in sizing, which promotes a more cohesive appearance in your yard.
On the other hand, mulch processed in off-site locations means the people selling you the final product had nothing to do with its creation. Off-site processing can also cause the final product to have countless size variations, which isn’t as aesthetically pleasing.
Consider Customer Service
“What does customer service have to do with the quality of mulch?” On the one hand, nothing. But on the other hand, everything.
When looking for the best local retailer to purchase mulch from, you need to find someone who offers top-notch customer service. Look for a company you can trust, who stands by the value of their product. This is the only real way to feel confident you’ve acquired the best mulch available.
Plus, excellent customer service takes much of the hassle out of the whole process. Find someone who listens and can help determine which natural mulch is your best option. Look for someone who can answer your questions and give you a positive experience. There’s nothing worse than leaving a company with a bad taste in your mouth because the representatives treated you poorly.
Get Your High-Quality Natural Mulch Today!
Your search for natural mulch and “organic mulch delivery near me” has finally led you to the right place. At Lumberjacks, we meet all the above qualifications, so you can be confident you’re always getting a premium product. Even more importantly, we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is and teach you how to identify high-quality natural mulch, so you don’t have to take our word for it.
Are you ready to order natural mulch for your next landscaping project? Click the button below to give us a call! Or, stop by one of our convenient locations in Lake in the Hills or Woodstock to see our quality for yourself!