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Why use Organic Mulch?

Materials produced or obtained from living things are considered organic materials. Rather than hauling off your yard waste to the local landfill, recycle this waste into your garden as mulch. The nutrients found in this waste will be recycled back into your garden. Mulch will also reduce weeds and water consumption.

Alfalfa

Living Mulch: Ground covers can act as mulch, protecting the soil and suppressing weeds. Evergreen Perennial ground covers such as ivy, purple winter creeper, or blue rug juniper remain attractive all year.

Grass Clippings: Using grass clippings in the garden is okay as long as you don’t use fresh clippings that will get matted down preventing water absorption. Also, be sure not to use grass clippings that have been treated with herbicides or containing weed seeds. It’s better to mulch grass clippings back onto the lawn where they can decompose and add nutrients to the soil.

Mulching Mower
Leaves: In the fall collect your fallen leaves and shred them with your lawn mower or a leaf shredder. Spreading about 2 or 3 inches of leaves will provide weed control. Be sure not to shred the leaves too finely or they will not allow water to get through. Dig leaves into the garden after they decompose to help improve the soil then add a fresh layer of mulch. .

Leaf Mold: Use leaf mold when amending your soil during garden preparation instead of mulch due to its tendency to crust.

Pine Bark: Pine bark is available at local nursery and home and garden centers in several different sizes. To control weeds put down a 2 to 3 inch layer. Larger pine bark nuggets tend to float and wash away during heavy rainstorms. The downside to pine bark is the possibility of attracting insects such as termites.

Pine Straw: Pine straw, or pine needles, makes great mulch around acid loving trees and bushes. A 2-inch layer of pine straw is attractive and allows water and nutrients to penetrate to the soil.

Straw: The best uses of straw as mulch is in the vegetable garden or freshly seeded lawn areas. Straw decomposes rapidly, improving the soil but will need replenishing more often to keep weeds at bay. Also, do not confuse straw with hay. Hay has too many weed seeds to be useful mulch. It’s better to compost hay where the heat of the compost pile will kill most of the weed seeds

Shredder

Shredded Hardwood Mulch: Shredded hardwood is very attractive mulch that doesn’t wash out as easily as others and is slower to decompose. It’s also excellent for suppressing weeds.

Wood Chips: Since small wood chips decompose rapidly they take nitrogen from the soil. This nitrogen needs replacing by adding fertilizer. Use a 2 to 3 inch layer of wood chips to control weed growth.

Pecan Shells:Mostly available in areas that grow and process pecans. Pecan shells are attractive and last long. They are effective in retaining moisture in the soil.

Select the type mulch that is right for you based on appearance, maintenance, effectiveness and price or availability. The benefits of using mulch far outweigh the extra effort it takes to put it down.

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