What did one pile of wood chips say to the other?
They weren’t mulch for conversation.
You’re probably here for one of two reasons (and neither of them are about the bad mulch joke above—sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves): 1) You are wondering about what types of mulch to use in your yard or garden or 2) You’re wondering if anyone in the Walled Lake area delivers mulch. Good news! J&S Landscaping has the answer to both!
Before we get into the kinds of mulch and how to use them, let’s talk about what mulch IS and how it works.
The Definition and Purpose (s) of Mulch
Mulch is any material that covers the soil’s surface. It can range from biodegradable materials such as wood chips (or shavings), straw, hay, grass clippings, mushroom compost, leaves, or even newspaper to non-biodegradable materials such as gravel, slate, plastic sheeting, chopped rubber or crushed sea shells. Here is more information about why we mulch.
We can use biodegradable mulch as both a weed barrier and a soil additive. Many gardeners use it to keep roots cooler or warmer, and cut down on the need for watering.
Non-biodegradable mulch is used as a weed barrier and to create a neat, uniform look around flowers, trees, and shrubs.
While we deal with non-biodegradable mulch, this time of year, most landscapers and gardeners are seeking biodegradable mulch. So today we’re discussing the three most popular types of mulch: Cedar, Hardwood, and Dyed mulches.
Cedar mulch consists of shavings or chips from the bark of cedar trees. Cedar trees grow fast, which makes them a popular source of wood for building. When sawmills strip cedar trees of their bark or remove pieces of less desirable pieces of wood from their stacks, they’re shredded and gathered to be sold as mulch.
People like cedar mulch for several reasons. It’s great for weed inhibition and water retention and looks great when spread across flower beds, but it’s also great for repelling insects and insulating the soil. And it lasts for several months. It doesn’t contain dyes, so it doesn’t bleed over onto borders, sidewalks, or driveways.
Cedar mulch is usually spread in 3-inch layers across the top of the soil. We prefer shavings for delicate plants and flowers. We prefer chips around the base of shrubs or large perennials.
A couple of notes here: when mulching around trees and shrubs, be sure and leave a two-to-three-inch gap between the mulch and the trunk. Failing to do this can lead to rot around the base of the plant and increase the incidence of disease.
Hardwood mulches are gathered from chipped bark and heartwood of maple, oak, walnut, hickory and other broad-leaf trees. While the name might imply that hardwood mulches are longer lasting, that’s not the case. Hardwoods are made up of cellulose—which makes it easier for the tree to transport sap to the leaves and branches. And it breaks down easily when introduced to cellulose eating organisms, air, and water. By itself, hardwood mulch can deplete the nitrogen in the soil because of these organisms. If you plan to use hardwood mulch around plants, you’ll want to add nitrogen rich fertilizer, or organic elements like composted manure and grass clippings.
However, it’s great because it’s cost-effective and is great for plants that need an acidic soil. And it “knits” together well as it breaks down, which means it’s effective for weed inhibition and holds soil dampness. With fertilizer or the addition of organic elements, these types of mulch work well in food gardens because it can be easily tilled or mixed into the soil at the end of the growing season as it breaks down. And will aid in preventing soil compaction around plants.
Dyed types of Mulch
When appearance and color coordination matters, dyed mulch is one of the most popular types of mulch. Many dyed mulches are made up of recycled lumber and pallets. It is recommended for commercial settings and flower beds because the dyes in it—while not toxic—are not especially good for edible crops. There are three types of dyed mulch: red, brown, and black. J&S Landscaping carries brown and black. Below are suggested uses for each.
This color works well in small beds. It’s a nice addition to raised beds and when placed around shrubs and trees in yards.
It loses its color by the end of a single season. But it may be worth it to replace it regularly because of how attractive it is.
Black mulch is another commonly chosen color for commercial areas. The color remains vibrant longer than the other two dyed mulch. However, because it’s black and retains heat, it shouldn’t be used in warm climates, nor should it be used with delicate plants. In cooler regions, it is attractive for this very reason.
J&S Landscaping experts are ready and waiting for your call! But we get busy in the spring, so don’t wait to order your mulch today! We have trucks of all sizes and can provide you with any of the types of mulch needed. We deal in only the best mulch on the market, direct from Michigan and Canada. And our prices can’t be beat!
J&S Landscaping is a member of the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association. We provide top-notch lawn care and support for plants, trees, and shrubs. And everything we purchase and plant for you has a one-year guarantee.
J&S Landscaping is certified by the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute to install paver patios & walkways, brick paver driveways, retaining walls and more. We are an authorized contractor for Belgard and we’re so confident of our work that we certify our installations for two years. All of our crews are carefully trained, certified, and bonded.
J & S Landscaping builds outdoor living areas, has a landscaping architect on staff who designs beautiful landscapes, offers commercial lawn care services, and much, much more. We are an authorized contractor for Belgard and a proud member of the Michigan Nursery and Landscape Association.
Call today to learn more about our Mulch Delivery Services and order yours!