What Is Mulch & Why Do We Use It?

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With May being the most popular month of the year to lay mulch, we frequently get asked all sorts of questions. “What type of mulch is best for my garden?”, “What is the difference between natural mulch and enhanced mulch?”, “How thick should I apply mulch in my gardens?”, etc etc. If you’ve ever asked these questions, you are not alone!

Luckily, we have been working with mulch for years and we’re going to try to help you answer some of these questions!

What is mulch?

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Mulch is classified as any material that is put over the surface of the soil to cover it. Most commonly it is composed of shredded or chipped wood pieces, but other products can be used as well. We’ve seen everything from grass clippings and newspaper to leaves, straw and various types of stone (aggregates).

While all of the above mentioned materials would technically count as mulch, we’re going to focus on wood mulches for this article.

Why do we use mulch?

The main reasons that mulch is used in gardens and around your property are:

  • Moisture retention – Keeping water in your garden and helping combat evaporation. Mulch helps keep moisture where you need it!
  • Weed suppression – Try as we might, it is almost inevitable that we are going to see some pesky weeds popping up in your garden beds. While mulch won’t entirely solve this issue, a proper weeding session before the application of a mulch layer will help keep weeds from poking through by limiting the sunlight and adding an extra barrier.
  • Temperature control – While you and your plants might like basking in the sun to get a tan in the warmer months, your soil and root systems aren’t a big fan. Prolonged periods of exposed sunlight can dry out the soil, bake roots and increase the overall temperature of your garden. Increased heat can affect the health of some plant species and stunt growth or event burn roots systems leading to crispy plants.
  • Aesthetics – You’ve worked hard to plant and maintain your gardens and you want to spend time enjoying your backyard. The right mulch can enhance the overall look of your garden by making plants and flowers “pop” when in bloom which compliments the overall look you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
  • Nutritional Value – Organic Mulch adds nutrients to your garden as it breaks down or can add acidity. Small particles in most shredded mulches break down quicker than others to help add an extra bit of help. This effect is enhanced when applying mulch every year and the particles have added time to break down over the winter.

When applied in a 3” depth, mulch can be a great addition to your garden. With many varieties available we are sure you will find one to fit the specific look and feel you are trying to achieve.

At Dirt Cheap, we carry 9 different varieties of mulch! Everything from Classic Cedar Mulch, Pine, and Enhanced Black (one of our best sellers!) to a Certified Playground Mulch which is designed to be kid friendly and helps lessen impacts around playgrounds and other areas which might see more human traffic.

If you have any questions give our team a call @ Phone number or stop by our pick-up depot. To see all the varieties we carry, click this link to check out our online store!

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