So, you want a great-looking yard, but you can’t seem to find that perfect look. Your grass is immaculately mowed as always. Your flowers, plants and trees are all blooming nicely. But something’s missing, and you can’t quite put your finger on it.
Let us give you a hint. If your garden plots and landscape beds don’t contain premium mulch, then that’s the problem!
Yes, mulch is so much more than just ground-up wood. The mulch you choose, or lack thereof, can make or break your outdoor experience! It’s that important.
This page will give you a crash course on everything you need to know about premium mulch. Here’s a little preview of the topics covered:
- What is the Purpose of Mulching?
- Should I Choose Organic or Inorganic Mulch?
- What are the Different Types of Wood Mulch?
- How Do the Different Types of Mulch Compare?
- When is the Best Time to Put Down Mulch?
- What are the Benefits of Mulch in Flowerbeds?
- How Do You Lay Mulch Around a Foundation?
- What is the Best Mulch for Trees and Shrubs?
- What Type of Mulch Lasts the Longest?
- Is It Necessary to Get Rid of Old Mulch?
- Where Should I Buy Premium Mulch Near Me?
Got all that? Good! Then let’s begin.
There’s a reason mulching is so common in outdoor work. Wherever there is uncovered soil (e.g., landscape beds or garden plots), you need mulch there to work wonders for that portion of your yard.
So, what are the premium mulch advantages? Let’s count them off, shall we?
- Mulch suppresses weeds.
- Organic mulch can feed the soil to keep it healthy.
- The protective covering keeps the soil moist.
- Mulch also maintains a constant soil temperature for healthy plant growth.
- Dense layers of mulch keep the soil underneath from eroding.
- It also looks a whole lot better than leaving the soil uncovered!
In short, mulch is the secret ingredient that keeps your landscape beds and garden plots healthy and attractive. What’s not to love about that?
There are two main categories of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic mulch consists of natural materials like bark, straw and compost. Inorganic mulch, on the other hand, contains things like plastic, rubber and rocks.
Both types of mulch do a fine job of preventing weeds, keeping the soil moist and looking good. So, which type is the superior choice?
The answer is organic mulch, and the competition isn’t as close as it may seem. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that organic mulch wins by a landslide!
You see, because it consists of lifeless materials, inorganic mulch has nothing to give back to the soil. Therefore, it cannot feed the soil and foster plant life nearly as well as its organic counterpart.
That’s why we only consider organic wood mulch to be premium mulch. After all, only organic mulch can give you everything you’re looking for and more from a ground covering.
There are many different types of organic wood mulch out there. In fact, there are so many varieties that it would be ridiculous to try to list them all here.
Instead, let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of wood mulch on the market today and get a brief snapshot of each:
- Hardwood Bark Mulch consists of nuggets of aged hardwood bark that most typically come from oak, hickory, ash or maple trees.
- Red Colored Mulch is mulch treated with red dye made from iron oxide, which can help the soil by shedding iron oxide as it decomposes.
- Shredded Hardwood contains finely ground strips of wood that are easy to spread and less likely to wash away than regular hardwood nuggets.
- Whole Tree Chips are larger chunks of wood than regular mulch, which offer a clean look and long-lasting protection.
- Pine Bark Mulch takes care of the soil well but also decomposes more quickly than regular hardwood mulch.
- Cedar Mulch is a very aesthetically pleasing mulch that also does a good job of keeping away pests.
- Certified Playground Mulch consists of natural hardwood pieces shredded to meet the size and consistency requirements for a safe play experience.
Some hot mulch debates are raging around the Internet, and we wouldn’t be doing our due diligence if we didn’t address them. So, let the debates begin!
Both hardwood mulch and pine bark mulch provide a lot of nutritional value to the soil. The biggest difference between the two types is how quickly they decompose. Pine bark mulch tends to decompose at a faster rate than regular hardwood mulch. So, if you would prefer not to have to replace your mulch as frequently, then hardwood is your pick.
However, while pine bark mulch does decompose more quickly, this is also better for the soil because it provides it with more nutrients. So, if you don’t mind the extra work, pine bark mulch could be an excellent option to keep your garden plots vibrant.
There are many pros and cons to choosing cedar mulch over hardwood mulch. On the positive side, cedar mulch looks great and smells fantastic. While hardwood mulch is also a good-looking option, it simply can’t compete with cedar mulch’s aesthetic value.
Cedar mulch also decomposes more slowly than hardwood. And while this may seem like an advantage, the problem is the beautiful color of cedar mulch fades quickly. As a result, you will have to live with that faded color as it decomposes. Hardwoods, on the other hand, maintain their color as they decompose.
And because it decomposes more slowly than hardwood, cedar provides fewer nutrients to the soil. Its fragrant aroma can also drive away insects that help the soil.
In short, cedar mulch provides great short-term aesthetic benefits, but if you’re looking for long-term quality, hardwood mulch is your best bet.
Unfortunately, we can’t give you an exact date and time for putting down mulch to get the best results. That would be too easy!
The truth is the best time to lay down mulch will depend on the types of plants you have and the results you’re looking to achieve.
Often, it’s a good idea to put down mulch in mid-spring. You’ll want to resist the urge to put down mulch in early spring because you need to give the soil a chance to warm up a little. If you put down the mulch too soon, you could stunt the growth of any plants you’re laying the mulch around.
Premium mulch does an excellent job of insulating the soil. So, whatever the soil’s temperature is when you put the mulch down, that’s the temperature it will remain.
Because of this, it may also make sense for you to put down a layer of mulch in the fall. This fall layer will retain the soil moisture as the deep freeze of winter sets in. Of course, some plants need the soil to cool down during the winter. So, fall mulching may not make sense in those instances.
Once again, the best time to mulch will depend on what’s best for your soil and plants. We leave it up to you, the expert gardener, to make the ultimate decision.
If you love to have beautiful flowerbeds around your home, then we cannot overstate the importance of premium mulch. The amazing ground covering offers a variety of perks that will help you dominate growing season. Here are just a few:
- It stifles weeds.
- Flowers stay hydrated
- It insulates the soil.
- Plants grow sturdier.
- It defends against harmful pests and winter weather.
- Flowerbeds with mulch look amazing!
We could go on, but we think you get the point. Premium mulch belongs in flowerbeds because nothing protects natural beauty quite like it!
When laying premium mulch around the foundation of your home, there are a couple of things to keep in mind: 1) Organic wood mulch can be flammable, and 2) mulch can also create an ideal environment for termites. Therefore, if you live in an area prone to wildfires or termite infestation, you may want to take the following precautions.
To lower the risk of fires, avoid laying mulch any deeper than 3 inches and keep it at least 18 inches away from your foundation. To lower the risk of termite infestation, keep at least one foot of space between the mulch and your foundation or siding.
If you aren’t as worried about fires or termites, then you will probably be okay laying the mulch right next to your foundation. Just make sure you clear out the weeds and slope the soil away from your home before adding the mulch.
Laying mulch around trees and shrubs is a great idea. However, it’s also an opportunity to improve your plants’ health and wellbeing that you won’t want to waste. So, don’t just spread any mulch around your trees or shrubs. Instead, pick an organic mulch.
Organic options like hardwood bark mulch and whole tree chips will beneft your trees and shrubs by fortifying and feeding the soil. In contrast, inorganic options like plastic and rubber pellets don’t provide any nutritional benefits.
Of course, these aren’t the only benefits premium mulch provides for trees and shrubs. It also protects the plant roots by increasing the amount of water they get, reducing temperature fluctuations in the soil and creating a barrier between the roots and harmful mower blades and foot traffic.
Mulch can also be detrimental to trees if you lay it incorrectly. To get all of the benefits listed above, follow these best practices:
- Keep the depth to no more than 2-4 inches so that the roots can breathe.
- Avoid piling mulch high around the tree trunk. Instead, keep the mulch away so that the root flare (the area where the trunk meets the roots) is showing.
- Lay the mulch all the way out to the tree’s drip line.
It’s understandable to want your mulch to last a long time. After all, you want to get the most bang for your buck, right?
Here’s the thing, though, the longest-lasting mulch isn’t necessarily the best mulch for your soil.
For example, if you want a mulch that you will never have to replace, you could go with an inorganic option like stones or rubber. The problem with these options is they don’t provide any nutrients to stimulate plant growth. So, sure they’ll look good, but your plants could suffer in the meantime.
The same goes for the longest-lasting organic mulch: cedar. As we mentioned above, cedar is a great-looking and smelling mulch. However, those characteristics only last a short time. Once they’re gone, you’re left with a dull-looking mulch that takes forever to decompose. Moreover, it doesn’t provide much nutrition to the soil as it decomposes.
Clearly, longevity isn’t everything when it comes to premium mulch. Shorter-lasting but more nutritious options like hardwood bark mulch and whole tree chips are a more worthwhile investment.
No, it is not necessary to get rid of old mulch before adding a new batch. In fact, you will be doing more harm than good if you remove the organic mulch you added last year!
The reason for this is that old mulch likely still has nutrients to provide the soil. It’s not through decomposing, so let it do its thing.
In the meantime, you can add new mulch on top of the old, and they should mix just fine. Moreover, if there’s still a good amount left covering your landscape beds from last year, you can save some money by not having to order as much new mulch.
In this sense, premium mulch is the gift that keeps on giving!
When shopping for premium hardwood mulch, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, you want to make sure that the company selling the mulch is trustworthy. Do they process their mulch on-site? Do they put it through a quality inspection process? The best companies don’t just break up some wood and put it in a bag. Rather, they put the time and effort into producing a quality product.
You should also make sure the company does mulch delivery the right way. They should be upfront about when the delivery will occur and where they will drop off the mulch. You should be able to specify exactly where the mulch pile should go, and they should follow your instructions to the T.
Anything less is not worth your time.
We hope this comprehensive guide has answered your burning questions about premium mulch. If you still have any unanswered queries, we’d be happy to provide the answers.
At Lumberjacks, we’ve been producing premium mulch for many years now. We have a variety of options available, including hardwood bark mulch and whole tree chips, and we deliver throughout the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin regions.