Mulch is one of those items that you don't notice until its' gone. Many people ask what is mulch made out of? More things than you may think. It's a combination of animal manure, wool, cardboard, newspaper that's shredded, shells, sawdust, whole or shredded bark, leaves, hay, straw, grass clippings etc.
One benefit many people may not know is a thick layer of mulch even spread out on a garden after pulling weeds by hand can prevent weeds from sprouting out off the ground again. But the key is a thick girthy layer of mulch. You want to make it extremely difficult for any weed to sprout out again. The best mulch will last for quite a while and is organic in nature.
How much should you pay for good mulch? Angieslist has quoted that hardwood and dyed mulches can usually cost anywhere from $30-$35 per yard, or $3-$6 per bag. The best kind of mulches however which are made from cedar or cypress trees, can cost $40 to $47 per yard or $4-7 per bag.
What are the different types of mulches? It's a question worth asking. Basically there are two kinds. Inorganic and organic. Organic mulches include the items we listed above: straw, grass clippings ,compost, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, pine needles and sometimes even newspaper. Both kinds of mulch will discourage weed growth but do keep in mind you'll need a lot of it for that to happen. It's recommended you pour the mulch about 3-4 inches deep, but try to limit no more than 5-6 inches. Another question we get is landscape fabric under mulch necessary? We will use it usually only for rocks & gravel. The fabric can slow the weeds down. The fabric used on the rocks ensure they don't sink into the soil and make it easier if you ever decide to replace it.
Beyond the benefit of removing weeds from your garden there are a few more positive aspects for using mulch. Water retention is huge. It will reduce the moisture lost from evaporation keeping plants filled with the liquids they need. Mulch will keep the soil where it at and not erode it with the elements. That falls into the next benefit of soil insulation. Mulch will save root systems from extreme temperature shifts in climate. The last one goes without saying but mulch will create another layer to your landscape that will bring your attention to the flowers and beautiful plants which is what you want. The last thing you want is for everyone's attention to go to plane dirt that isn't very pretty.
Mulch comes in many different colors and its' a personal preference. Natural colors for organic mulch are brown, and reddish darker colors, but it's important to remember that the colors will fade in time with the weather. Red dye mulch will bring attention to the ground. It is an unexpected look as it's generally not natural. It will however, compliment the green color of the grass or other plants, shrubs and many other trees. Black mulch will go good with flowers that have white blossoms and any house or building that has that new, contemporary white/grey look. It's very contrasting. Remember it will absorb more heat due to it's color. Brown mulch has a wide spectrum it works well with. It's the most natural look and does well to bring the attention to the flowers beds and other vegetation.