6:00am

Sat April 26, 2014
Garden Report

How Mulch Will Lessen Your Gardening Workload

The binding qualities of shredded mulch are ideal for windswept areas.
Credit Darrick / Flickr - Creative Commons

Mulches evenly maintain moisture and temperature in the soil. They're also used to prevent weed growth. Contrary to what you might think, a variety of both inorganic and organic mulches are commonly used in the garden, albeit for different reasons.

Tom Throgmorton explains how using different varieties of mulches will benefit your garden.

Rock, plastic and old carpeting are all inorganic mulches used to keep the weeds in the dark, with rock being the most popular. Tiny pea gravel makes it easier to clean out old leaves and debris. Cobbles are three to six-inch round rocks usually placed to form an imitation stream bed. Use rocks sparingly as a mulch. Too much gives the garden an industrial look.     

A remedy for this is to take advantage of the variety of colors rocks have. Red pumice and pink limestone will complement the landscape with the house. Rock mulches have an advantage because they don’t blow away and last a long time.  

Organic mulches also come in a wide array of textures and colors. Some have fairly quick soil-building properties.  All organic mulches will breakdown over time.  They add organic matter to the soil but need to be replenished. 

Cocoa fiber discourages all sorts of critters, from slugs to pesky cats and the sizes vary. The lighter mini bark is about the size of pea gravel and holds its own in non-windswept areas. Larger sizes are ideal for gardening in a treeless, windy area.

Shredded mulches like cedar or redwood bind together because they’re a mixture of fine, medium and coarse fibers. The binding is ideal for windswept areas.   

Recycled chipper chips are produced when trees are trimmed or taken down and sent through a chipper. The City of Fort Collins is offering this form of mulch today, April 26th for $5 a load.   

Whether it’s recycled chipper chips or rock, mulch helps your soil stay healthy and keeps the weeding work at bay.  

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