A Mulchtitude of Options

There are many options when it comes to choosing the best type of mulch for your garden. At TriGem, we have some tried and true types of mulches, aggregates, and pine straws that we like to use in different situations.

Hardwood Mulch

We usually try to use brown hardwood mulch in most tree and shrub beds. We are not big fans of red because it tends to look unnatural. We also try to stay away from black mulch because it absorbs too much heat in the summertime.

Pine Straw

If the tree or shrub bed is on a steep slope, we will suggest to our clients to use pine straw instead of the hardwood mulch. The pine straw will hold to the slope better because the needles tend to weave together. The same can be said for flat areas where water moves across the bed on a regular basis.

There are two types of pine straw, long needle, and slash. The long needle pine straw has a higher end look and lasts longer. Slash is more economical than the long needle. Either or would be a best option for the conditions described above.

Pine Bark Nuggets

We suggest pine bark nuggets for annual or shallow rooted perennial beds. Pine bark nuggets come in various sizes. For beds where plants are close together, we use the mini pine bark nuggets. We do not use hardwood mulches in these beds because the process of microorganisms breaking down the hardwood mulch will deplete the nitrogen in the first few inches of soil. Deeper rooted plant like trees and shrubs are not impacted the same way as a shallow rooted plant like seasonal color. We also suggest mini pine bark nuggets for containers needing mulch.

Other Types of Mulch

Over the years we have used other products to function as mulch:

Small Gravels and Stones

We have used them to add certain colors and textures. However, stones get extremely hot in the summer. Be mindful of the types of plants that you are applying it to.

Soil Conditioner

Clients have requested that we use soil conditioner instead of mulch. This is a great option to add organic content to the soil, but it turns from dark almost black when it is wet to a light brown greyish color when it is dry. A good soil conditioner will cost about three times as much as a bag of mulch.

Tip: Avoid rubber mulches in your plants or flower beds. Rubber takes a long time to break down, but it does break down. Certainly not a healthy addition to your garden as those chemicals and heavy metals seep into the soil.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s