The best mulch depends on the garden and the plants within it. Straw, wood, stone and fabric are typical mulches, as are textile and plastic mulch underlayment materials. You may need to use multiple mulch materials in a single bed to make use of the garden finest, or even assorted mulch types in different regions based on the type of garden beds you have.
Most vegetable plants develop as summer annuals, preferring warm, moist soil and competing poorly with weeds. The ideal combination of mulch helps supply these conditions. A layer of black plastic mulch, laid two weeks before you plant, warms the soil and prevents nearly all weed growth. You can use plastic on its own or combine it with a thick 3-inch layer of straw mulch after in this season. Water can not penetrate plastic, so if you don’t have drip irrigation installed at the garden, a 3- into 4-inch layer of straw is a much better alternative because water may still penetrate into the ground beneath. Unlike slowly decomposing wood chips, straw breaks down over winter so that you can until it into the ground in autumn.
Perennial flowers and plants look best and receive benefits from a durable organic mulch. If weeds present a major issue in a perennial bed, lay a woven landscape fabric mulch over the bed. Landscape fabric suppresses most weeds while allowing nutrients and moisture to seep into the soil. It lasts for five years or longer, so is only suitable in long-term plantings. Cover the fabric using a 2-inch layer of timber or bark mulch to hide the landscape material and supply soil insulation. If the garden doesn’t suffer from a major weed problem, use a 3-inch layer of timber or bark with no cloth so the nutrients in the decomposing wood get to the soil. The timber mulch will need replenishing one time a year to maintain its depth.
Like vegetables, annual blooms need yearly replacement, therefore fabric mulches aren’t a wise choice. A layer of plastic functions like fabric to curb major weed problems but just if drip irrigation lines are installed beneath it, otherwise the soil may dry out too much. A thick 3-inch layer of wood or pine bark, either on top the plastic or directly over the ground, further prevents hardened while conserving soil moisture. Wood mulches are more appealing in cosmetic beds than straw.
Inorganic mulches include stone, rubber and gravel mulch. These mulches are permanent, so are only suitable for long-lived plants in locations where the ground won’t be disturbed for many years. Use stone and gravel around little evergreen shrubs or at cactus and succulent beds. Avoid stone in locations where there is heavy leaf drop because it is difficult to wash debris in the stone. Lay stone mulches over landscape material so that the stones do not work into the soil, otherwise it is difficult to take out the mulch later. Rubber mulches aren’t suitable for use around plants, but they don’t work well about playgrounds or on courage.