Much Ado About Mulch: What’s Right For You?

landscape supplyThe mulch question: organic or inorganic? A simple question, with answers that depend entirely on preference and what goals you have for your landscape.

A landscape supply company will have lists of options for both organic and inorganic mulch. They’ll also have great advice to steer your project in the right direction. Here’s a mulch breakdown to consider before you begin.

Take this example: you wouldn’t use potting soil as soil for gardening, right? The concept is similar. Much like different types of soil, the different mulches have their usage preferences, but what’s the difference? And is the difference going to make a big deal?

  • Organic: organic mulch refers to mulch that comes from something that was once living. This can be a variety of different organic compounds such as wood chips, shredded leaves, grass clippings, compost, tree bark chunks, etc.
  • Why You Should Buy: from the earth to the earth, organic mulch already has nutrients and compounds that will jive well with the soil you’re covering. These nutrients will serve as a burst of food for your growing plants as the mulch breaks down. It blocks weeds from sunlight, stifling any competition for nutrients, leaving them fully available to your young plants. Generally, it helps shield your soil from harmful elements.
  • Inorganic: inorganic mulch, as you’ve probably guessed, is mulch from human-made materials like rubber chunks, plastic pebbles, landscape fabrics, etc.
  • Why You Should Buy: sturdy and durable, it will not need replacement often (sometimes never, in the case of rocks used as inorganic mulch). It’s aesthetically diverse and pleasing, doing much of the same jobs as organic mulch, but doesn’t add the benefits of organic compounds reentering the soil.

It’s tough to be sure, because mulches (both organic and inorganic) can come in so many varieties, along with gardens and projects having different needs. Your local landscape supply store is a good place to start if you’re curious. Be warned: don’t just try throwing mulch down without knowing how to properly do it! That could be the death of a would-be beautiful garden. Do research, be patient, and weigh your options. Just like the plants you want to see grow healthy, time, care, and attention will bring you fruitful results.