You wouldn’t take your car to a small engine shop to get repaired. Both mowers and cars have engines but they are vastly different in their complexities. In the same regard all mulch in not created equal.
Good Mulch vs. Bad Mulch
The problem with mulch is that you don’t know exactly what you’re getting or where it came from. Some mulch is made from junk wood like recycled pallets, old railroad ties, etc. This type of mulch can contain nails, staples, chemicals and other things you wouldn’t want in your landscape or garden. The big box stores tend to buy mulch in bulk (and normally in bags) to keep the price low. Unfortunately, this can also mean the quality is low as well.
Unlike many other types of organic mulch, cedar mulch decomposes slowly, taking years to break down, so it needs to be replenished less frequently. Cedar mulch has the added benefit of a pleasant scent which may also keep certain insects away. When you purchase cedar mulch, make sure it’s actually cedar and not another wood dyed to resemble cedar.
Pine Bark Mulch
Pine bark mulch makes a good mulch for mulching planting beds and it’s also a great additive. Pine bark is long lasting, and when it does break down it enriches the soil with organic material. Pine Bark mulch doesn’t break down as quickly nor does it contain the nutrition that hardwood bark has, but it’s still a great mulch for use in the garden.
Cypress mulch is made from bald cypress trees and pond cypress trees. Fresh cypress mulch has an attractive, natural wood color as well as a pleasing scent. While cypress mulch has a high capacity for holding water, it isn’t the best conveyor of moisture, so it may prevent available water from seeping below the mulch.
Double Ground Mulch
Double ground mulch is shredded and then shredded again. It’s finer texture has excellent resistance to compaction and blowing in the wind.
Chocolate Dyed Pine Chips
These wood chips are dyed a dark chocolate color which adds to their beauty. They are great for mulching pathways in your garden. It takes pine chips a long time to break down, so you won’t have to replace as often as other types of mulch.
Our Brown Derby Dyed Mulch and Ruby Red Dyed Mulch have been dyed to give them their rich color. They are composed of ground wood. These mulches contain little to no bark at all and are 100% wood. Wood mulches don’t break down as quickly. Be sure the manufacturer uses raw lumber rather than recycled wood so you aren’t getting objectionable additives like arsenic from pressure-treated wood, nails, staples, etc. The dyes used for colored mulches are safe for plants.
The best mulch is from hardwoods. Our Hardwood Dyed Red Mulch and Hardwood Dyed Brown Mulch are both excellent choices for gardens or paths. Hardwood mulch becomes alkaline as it breaks down, benefitting all plants, except those that need a lot of acid. Wood chips or shavings can turn gray or the color can fade on the surface, so they should be turned or replaced annually.
This information was provided by Kat Nursery, one of our trusted landscape suppliers. We are committed to serving you with the best service in Lenexa, Shawnee, Overland Park, Leawood, Olathe, Prairie Village, and Kansas City.