Our customers frequently ask, “What’s the best mulch?” and there is no single answer.
In the Northeast people usually choose an organic mulch that breaks down over time, as opposed to rocks and pebbles. Since many of our plants shed foliage and stems, a rock mulch is harder to keep clean and debris-free. Mulches such as shredded bark, hulls, chopped leaves or compost have the added advantage of amending the soil from the top down.
If you’re using the mulch around shrubs and trees, something that’s fairly fine in texture works well for both for soil amendment as well as moisture retention and weed suppression. The choice between pine bark, hemlock, cedar or other woods should be made on appearance: they all function in the same manner. (Note: Cedar mulches do not keep insects away.)
Those who turn the soil every year in annual beds or vegetable gardens might want to choose mulch that breaks down more quickly than bark. Hay or straw, buckwheat hulls, seaweed and finely chopped leaves are examples of good choices for these areas.
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