FSI Landscape Supply weighs in on organic and synthetic mulches, while highlighting the benefits and uses. (Source: The Spruce, What is Mulch?, written by Marie Iannotti, reviewed by Julie Thompson-Adolf, March 7, 2021, https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-mulch-1402413).
Mulch is nothing less than a magical weapon for gardeners. The act of covering the land with natural or synthetic materials mainly for the conservation of moisture and weed growth is known as mulching.
Multipurpose nature of mulch
FSI Landscape Supply has observed that apart from the significant advantages of mulching cited above, there are plenty of other perks associated with mulching like:
- Prevention of soil erosion
- Protects young plants from unfavourable temperatures
- Maintains suitable microclimate for growth in the off-season
- Organic mulches even enhance the structure, nutrient content, and water holding capacity of the soil.
- FSI Landscape Supply has noted that certain mulches can be used as effective tools for aesthetic gratification.
Types of mulch
Broadly mulching materials can be differentiated into organic and synthetic mulch.
Organic mulches easily decompose and need to be reapplied afterward. Decomposition of these mulching materials adds organic matter to the soil, which enriches the soil’s physical, chemical, and biological characteristics. Most of these (like dried leaves, grass clippings, and newspapers) are available in your garden or household. However, you must consider knowing the composition of the mulching material before applying it. Make sure they do not end up contaminating your garden soil with pathogens or harmful chemicals. Others like coco coir (coconut fiber), coco chips, and tree bark chips can easily be obtained from gardening and landscaping supply stores.
According to FSI Landscape Supply, organic mulches like tree barks and coco chips can make your garden look natural and classy. These mulches are easy to maintain and add a beautiful texture to the floor. Various organic materials such as dried leaves, straw, and grass clippings do not offer any visual appeal.
These materials do not get decomposed and do not enhance the nutrient value of the soil. Synthetic mulches do not need to be reapplied frequently. However, synthetic mulches containing plastic can have an adverse effect on soil health. But there is nothing to worry about or fuss over as there are many other options available in the category of synthetic mulches.
FSI Landscape Supply states that the porous nature of landscape fabric makes it more desirable than plastic mulch. It will not bother you with puddled water or intense heat buildup. Landscape fabric is a pocket-friendly and easy-to-apply option, highly suitable for large areas.
Landscaping and mulching
Mulch is an essential component of your must-have landscaping supplies. Mulching can act as a filler component and add texture to the landscape. FSI Landscape Supply notes that synthetic mulches are better for beautification than organic mulches. However, organic mulches offer more benefits regarding the quality and health of the landscape. Which one you choose depends on the overall landscape goal.
Dark mulches like coco coir or tree bark chips can bring out the vibrant color of plants in bloom. Lighter shades of mulches give the landscape a crisp and natural tone. Coloured gravels and pebbles lend a unique look to the landscape by creating contrast.
Mulching has both functional and aesthetic utility. It brings the right combination of cohesion and contrast to the landscape. Do not forget to choose the right mulch according to your plan and sense of aesthetics to have that stellar landscape.