Want your trees, yard and Southwest Florida gardens to look their best? If so, you need mulch. Mulch is placed in a layer on top of soil to increase moisture content, limit weed growth and improve the overall health of your soil. You know mulch is important, but when should you mulch? Where should you place it? And what type of mulch should you use? Peer Landscaping, your professional landscaping experts in Southwest Florida, have the answers to all of your mulch-related questions in this article.
What type of mulch is right for me?
When it comes to types of mulch, there are several different factors to consider—color, durability, origin, and nutrition content. To determine what type of mulch will best suit your needs, here are some questions to consider:
- Is there a specific color that fits your landscape or are you open to a variety of colors?
- Where did the mulch originate from? Is it eco-friendly and locally sources?
- How durable should your mulch be? Are you open to seasonal mulching or do you want a longer-lasting solution?
- Will the mulch meet the nutritional needs of your plants or yard?
As professionals with experience working with landscapes here in Southwest Florida, the team at Peer Landscaping can help answer these questions, after looking over your yard and garden.
Mulch Types to Consider
Here’s a look at the varieties of mulch that are used most often in Southwest Florida, as well as the chief qualities of each type:
Pine Bark – A byproduct of the forest industry, pine bark is available ground up or as nuggets. Whatever its form, pine bark mulch has a deep warm brown color. Settling slowly, studies by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences have shown that it maintained two-thirds of its depth after two years, so it’s a great long lasting mulch.
Pine Straw – Created by pine plantations that produce paper and wood, pine straw is known for its natural-looking appearance. Also, the needles form a bond that prevents them from being washed away. Pine straw is not expensive, but it also is not as durable. With high decomposition rates, that means pine straw will need to be replaced often.
Mixed Hardwood Mulch – When lumber is scrapped, pallets are recycled, and tree stems are chopped up so they can be manufactured into mixed hardwood mulch. It comes in a variety of colors and its consistency is comparable to traditional mulches. Mixed hardwood will settle faster than pine bark, but slower than pine straw.
Eucalyptus Mulch – Locally produced by plantations in Florida, Eucalyptus mulch is often grown solely to be made into mulch. A moderately durable mulch, the eucalyptus will need to be replaced annually. However, because the plants grow so fast, it is considered a renewable resource. Additionally, eucalyptus mulch has been known to repel certain pests.
Mulch Types To Avoid
Cypress Mulch – Composed of wood and bark, cypress mulch is usually a light yellow-tinted brown. Cypress mulch is produced when Florida wetlands have lumber harvested. Whatever is left after flooring, fencing, and furniture is produced is turned into mulch. While it may seem like a great way to use every component of the tree, cypress mulch is still produced through the destruction of trees that are on the endangered species list. For this reason, we do not recommend the use of cypress because of the questionable methods used to produce it.
Utility Mulch/Yard Waste – Utility mulch and yard waste mulch are often produced as the results of scraps from yards and utility companies. This mulch can consist of dirt, leaf matter, tree trimmings, materials gathering from natural scrap, and plant growth. It’s also most likely to contain pests, plant diseases, and unknown seeds capable of germinating. Additionally, utility mulch is already partially decomposed so it won’t be particularly durable. It can, however, be great when lining driveways or pathways.
Gravel/Pebbles – Gravel and pebbles are a form of inorganic mulch and, as such, cannot contribute nutrients to the soil or hold water. However, this stone mulch can be aesthetically appealing if cleared of debris. While stone mulch is extremely durable, it must be installed correctly, and a new layer will need to be added in a few years to keep up the look.
Rubber Mulch – Usually composed of recycled tires, rubber mulch isn’t particularly effective for landscaping. The UF/IFAS has shown that rubber mulch isn’t an effective method of weed control. Rubber mulch also can have a negative insulating effect because it reaches extremely high temperatures in the sun. Moreover, as the rubber mulch decomposes, it could leech toxic chemicals into the ground beneath it.
Trust the pros to meet your mulching needs.
You take pride in your garden and maintaining your own yard. However, when it comes to mulch, you can make a costly and damaging mistake if it is not installed the right way. Your mulch may need to be 1 1/2 inches deep, or placed in a layer 3 inches deep, depending on the type of mulch you are choosing. Place too much mulch and excess water will accumulate in your soil, denying oxygen and nutrients to the roots of your plants. Fail to place enough mulch and it will not have the desired effect of keeping in the moisture during the dry months. This why we recommend turning to the professionals like the team at Peer Landscaping for any of your mulching needs.
Mulching in Southwest Florida
Whether you need to start, finish, or update your landscaping with mulch, Peer Landscaping is here for you. We want to make sure you choose the right mulch for your needs. Get a free consultation today by calling us at (239) 645-6455. Peer Landscaping is proud to serve homeowners and businesses in Fort Myers or the surrounding areas of Southwest Florida.
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