With summer just around the corner, homeowners everywhere begin lawn care and landscaping preparations. And what better way to begin than considering several types of organic mulches to nourish and protect your vegetation and plantings? Today, our lawn care Coaldale, AB experts are here to offer you a quick guide on six different types of organic mulches to use for fertilization, protection against heat, pests and weeds.
1. Grass Clippings
Grass clippings should be collected after each mowing session and mixed with other vegetal debris like dry shredded leaves or dry straw. Such mulch is perfect for tree plantings and flower beds, but the layer you apply shouldn’t be over one inch thick. Grass clippings tend to mat together, obstructing air and water flow and this is why you should mix them with other types of organic mulch to keep them aerated and avoid compaction.
2. Shredded Leaves
Collect fallen leaves and let them dry, then shred them with your mower. Wet leaves also compact and make air flow hard, attract diseases, pests and weeds; this is why they need to be dry. Our lawn care Coaldale, AB specialists recommend you use this type of mulch for tree plantings. It makes a good fertilizer, releasing nitrogen into the soil; however, the layer shouldn’t be thicker than 1-2 inches and you may want to sprinkle fresh soil over the layer to prevent the leaves from scattering.
3. Shredded Bark
Shredded bark doesn’t decompose fast, so it is used to protect the plantings from weeds and pests mostly. It looks very good in landscapes. Being less nutritious for the soil, bark is recommended to be mixed with more fertilizing mulches like grass clippings or leaves. You can also mix bark with landscape fabric (inorganic mulch) to build a strong weed barrier. Your lawn care Coaldale, AB experts might recommend you mix shredded bark with lime, as bark tends to be more acidic and some plants might not like it.
Fresh seaweed decomposes fast; it is an excellent fertilizer, soil insulator and snail repellent. However, it dries and decomposes quickly, leaving behind bare patches of soil which might entertain weed sprouting. You can enhance seaweed mulch with straws or grass clippings to avoid compaction and let the air flow. Some seaweed is too salty for some plants, so depending on what your lawn care experts say, you might want to rinse it before application.
5. Buckwheat Hulls
Buckwheat hulls conserve soil moisture, keeping the roots cool and nourished. It is also a pleasant looking type of mulch, used for flower beds and plantings exposed to the sun all summer long. It is a good weed suppressor, weed free, clean, with a gorgeous texture. Apply it (no more than 2 inches thick a layer) in visible parts of your garden and landscape. You also might want to mix it with coarser mulches to prevent scattering.
Sometimes straws may contain weed seeds, but clean and dry straw makes good organic mulch especially for tree plantings. Given its light color it reflects sunrays well, being recommended for plantings in sunny areas of your property. If too wet it can compact and if too dry it can scatter, so you should mix it with other types of organic mulches.
If you want to learn more about mulches and the organic vs. inorganic varieties, talk to your local lawn care Coaldale, AB specialists to offer you advice and the basic principles of applying mulches in the garden.