Why to use mulch in your garden, and the best type to use
Jun 2, 2023, 3:00 PM | Updated: Sep 5, 2023, 1:08 pm
SALT LAKE CITY – Are you using mulch in your garden? If not, it’s something you might want to consider.
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There are several benefits to using mulch
Preventing weeds is one of the biggest benefits of using mulch, and it can make your flower beds look a bit more polished.
“I can put mulch down in my garden or flower beds and prevent 70% of the weeds that would come up,” Beddes said.
Water conservation is another great benefit of mulch. When you put mulch down, an area that usually required watering 3 times a week may now require watering twice or even once a week.
“The third (benefit) is that that mulch will decompose and work its way into the soil, and as it decomposes, the top six inches of soil greatly benefit from that organic matter,” Beddes said.
Mulch can loosen soil that contains clay which allows more water penetration deeper into the soil.
“It also will help with nutrient retention because of those aggregates,” Beddes said. “The organic matter that breaks down is charged so that it holds onto fertilizer particles, especially like nitrogen, so it extends the amount of time that the fertilizer lasts in the soil.”
There are different types of mulch.
The most common types of bark mulch come as shredded or in small-, medium-, or large-chunk bark.
“I like the medium or large chunk bark in areas that have high winds because they’re far less likely to blow away,” Beddes said.
Sometimes people will try to use compost as mulch, which you can do, but remember that the finer compost will blow away in the wind.
Some other options are rock and plastic sheeting. Although these are nontraditional and don’t break down like regular mulch, you can consider them mulch because they serve the same purpose of preventing weeds and saving water.