Generally, mulch is defined as any material that is spread over soil to keep it insulated and free of weeds as well as increasing moisture retention. Mulch can be made from a wide range of materials, including rocks, wood chips, leaves, grass clippings and occasionally newspaper. As the material decays over time, it enriches the quality of the soil while also protecting it from the sun, pests and weeds.
Shredded bark is one of the most popular forms of mulch. It is relatively lightweight and can be dyed a multitude of colors to match your landscape. Shredded bark is an extremely cost-effective way of protecting your landscape, and it tends to decompose slowly, so it will last all season long. You can also generally choose from thinly shredded bark to larger bark nuggets, depending on your preference.
Leaves and Grass
Leaves and grass are another cheap way to mulch your landscape. If you already have a landscaping team cutting your grass on a regular basis, they may already be creating mulch for you. Leaves and grass tend to break down very quickly but need to be well shredded so they don’t become too dense and stifle the growth of your garden. Pine needles may also be part of this category.
Straw is another common form of mulch. It is a lightweight and inexpensive option that provides great insulation for your soil. Straw tends to break down slowly, but it can be blown around in the wind. The key to using straw mulch is making sure you buy from a reputable source. Low-quality straw can be full of weed seeds, which will infiltrate your landscape.
Pebbles and Rocks
In some cases, pebbles and rocks can be used as a form of mulch. Rocks absorb more heat from the sun and can help keep your soil warmer than your climate would normally allow. This can expand your growing season or allow you to choose plants from outside of your region for more variety.
Recycled Newspapers and Cardboard
If you are looking for an environmentally friendly option, you may be able to find repurposed newspapers and cardboard that have been shredded for mulching purposes. Newspapers, in particular, are great for keeping weeds out of the garden in place of traditional weed barriers. Using a high-quality compost over your newspaper mulch can be especially revitalizing for your soil and landscape.
Your landscaping team should be putting mulch to use in your gardens and any exposed areas of soil. Consult with a landscaping professional to determine which mulching options will give you the best appearance as well as the most protection for your soil. Fortunately, mulch is fairly inexpensive across the board, as you can expect to refresh your mulch at the beginning of every growing season.
For more information on how to keep your Chicagoland commercial landscape in beautiful shape, contact Countryside Industries today.