To mulch or not to mulch?

Paver patio and walkway surrounded by natural mulch.

Is one mulch better than the other? How much mulch should I use? When should I mulch?

Our landscape professionals get asked these questions, and there are as many opinions as there are types of mulch. From rock and colored wood chips to cedar and cypress, there’s a mulch for every preference. We asked Kelly O’Donahue, master gardener and Villa landscape designer, to share the scoop on mulch:

Natural mulch has many purposes. It:

  • Inhibits weed growth when applying a 4” layer or more
  • Cools the roots of the plant and holds moisture around plantings
  • Gives a finished look to landscaped areas
  • Can impact the look of your garden, so consider plant colors when choosing colored mulch.

More facts about mulch:

  • Cedar and cypress mulch take longer to break down in the garden than other wood mulch and will need replenishment less often.
  • Dyed mulch is available in browns, reds and gold.
  • Dyed mulch will not leech color into your gardens or poison your plants.
  • Cocoa chip mulch is poisonous to dogs.

Natural mulch can make your gardens look great. Consider these tips before applying mulch in the spring:

  • Add compost to your soil, which will improve any soil condition.
  • Before applying a pre-emergent weed control product, read the label carefully for application tips.
  • If you are working in soil that is too wet, it will form large clods that when broken down will turn to dust.

Recent Stories