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How to Choose a Mulch

Mulch is a layer of material that is applied to any soil or garden surface.  Mulch cuts down on the amount of weeds that grow in or around your garden.  It also conserves moisture so you do not have to water your garden as often. 

There are so many materials to choose from to use as mulch in your garden.  You can use grass clippings, wood chips, shredded bark, pine needles, cocoa bean hulls and so many other materials.  These things all make excellent mulch How to choose a mulchhowever they vary in cost and have subtle advantages and disadvantages.  Check with your local agricultural extension or any garden center to get the best advice on the best mulch to use in your area. 

You can apply the mulch to your flowerbed in late spring after your region’s last frost date.  Otherwise, you will prevent the soil from warming up and you will need to warm the soil for good plant growth. 

When you are choosing mulch for your garden area, there are a few things that you will need to decide before you go and make the purchase.  Think about the area in which you are going to use the mulch.  Is the area on a hillside, or in a flowerbed?  Do you need a little mulch or a lot?  You can even decide what color of mulch you would rather have.  You can choose from bark mulch with a deep cedar red color, or you can find greener or grassier mulches.  It all depends on what your preference is. 

Choosing a mulchAside from choosing a color, you also need to decide on the texture of mulch that you want to use.  There are heavier mulches and lighter weight mulches also.  Think about what is best for your area and for the plants that you are growing.  If you are not sure about using a certain mulch for a certain plant or area, you can always ask someone from your local lawn and garden center to be sure. 

Mulches can get to be expensive, especially if you are using it to cover a large area.  The best way to buy mulch is in bulk.  You can find big ten pound bags at your local garden centers or flower shops.  Another great way to buy mulch is by the truckload.  There are many supply centers that sell mulch and stone or rock by the load.  Most places will even deliver it free or for a small fee.  This is a wonderful way to get your mulch.  All you have to do is place it where you want it and spread it around. 

Once the season has ended and you are preparing for the winter months, you can place plastic over your mulch and tie it down.  This may help protect your mulch from the weather.  You might want to plan on replacing your mulch annually.  The mulch will break down in the soil after time. 

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