Landscaping Mulch - Types of Mulch and How They'll Help Your Yard
Garden mulch is an unsung hero. Where would we be without it? Yet mulch must be used properly in order for you to derive maximum benefit from it. This Q&A answers frequently asked questions about mulch, including what the various types of mulch are.
Organic Mulches for the Landscape
Iowa State University Extension bestows their expert tips on mulching in this article. Learn about mulching with grass clippings, straw, composted leaves, pine needles, cocoa-bean hulls, ground corn cobs and wood products. Ground corn cobs would certainly be a natural choice in Iowa!
Types of Mulch (by Color)
There are many types of mulch, in terms of material composition. But what about color? You can open up a whole new world of options if you factor color into the selection equation. Just be aware that some people exhibit strong negative reactions toward "unnatural" mulch colors, as you'll see in this survey.
Is Rubber Mulch Safe to Use Around Plants?
Here's another safety-related question. Should you use rubber mulch around plants? I present the pros and cons here, citing experts who have researched the subject. This recycled-rubber product is also sometimes called "playground mulch" because of its common use in play areas.
Mulching Near Foundations and Termite Control
As if the safety concerns above were not enough to have you pulling your hair out, some experts advise against applying mulch too close to house foundations, for fear that it might invite termites. I would recommend simply exercising caution, especially if you live in an area known for having a termite problem.
Is Dyed Mulch Safe to Use?
As with newspaper and rubber (above), people wonder if dyed mulch is safe to use. This FAQ looks specifically at whether or not it is safe to use around landscaping plants. As you'll see in my answer to this frequently asked question, the real problem may not lie in the dye, itself.
Does Colored Mulch Affect Plant Growth?
This FAQ provides a follow-up to the prior Q&A, looking at whether or not colored mulch affects the growth of plants. This is a very complex problem. Being a non-scientist, I'm relying on a study here conducted by Speir et al. (1992), which gets into biochemistry.
What Is Dyed Mulch or "Colored Mulch"
Dyed mulch allows you to suppress weeds in style. For example, you could choose to give plants with yellow flowers a cool black backdrop. But for safety concerns associated with colored mulches, see above; while, below, you'll find a discussion of aesthetic considerations (pro and con).
Fall Cleanup: Sorting Leaves Into Compost and Mulch Bins
Will you be recycling the leaves you're raking up? You should, as nature has provided you therein with free material for composting and mulching in your yard (why pay out money when you do not have to?). But compost and mulch are two distinct products, so treat them as such when recycling. Here's how.
Newspaper Safe as Landscaping Mulch?
Speaking of free mulch, what about re-using old newspapers? Is it safe? Or how about composting them? Well, it all depends on the type of newspaper. Get the facts here so you can begin taking advantage of this great free source of mulch, which also comes in handy if you're looking to kill unwanted grass.
Selecting the Best Type of Mulch for Your Yard
This article explains the functions and characteristics of landscaping mulch and outlines the benefits and drawbacks of the various types of mulches available. If you know that you need to buy some mulch for your yard but are not sure which type would best serve your needs, this is the article to read.