Choosing the Right Mulch for Your Garden

Mulch is an important part of any garden or flower bed, both aesthetically and functionally.  Not only will it control weed growth, but your garden will grow healthier and will withstand drought better when it is mulched.  With a variety of mulch options available, which one is best for you?  Well, that depends on your landscape, environment and personal preference.  Visit a local nursery, like A&N Lawn Service, in Pittsburgh, for assistance with your mulch selection.  In the meantime, read more about the different types of mulch below.

Bulk Mulch for Sale Compost and Manure

Two very good organic mulches to use are compost and manure.  They enrich your soil, improving the soil’s structure, as well as nutrient and water holding capacity.  Unfortunately, these two types do not stop weed growth as well as other mulches.  If you are using your own compost, be careful there are no materials that may have left herbicides in your mulch bin.  Additionally, compost mulch tends to dry out; therefore, it is recommended that you top the compost with another kind of mulch to keep it moist for your plants to thrive.

Wood Chips, Nuggets, and Bark

Many homeowners choose to use wood chips, pine nuggets or bark for mulch as they are easy to spread and long-lasting.  Typically aged and dried, these byproducts of the lumber and paper industry come in varying sizes and colors and can be found in the bulk gardening materials section of your local Pittsburgh nursery.   If you are considering colored mulch, avoid any objectionable additives by ensuring that the manufacturer has used raw lumber rather than recycled wood.   

Bark nuggets tend to wash away quicker than shredded hardwood, so if you live in an area that floods during heavy rains, the bark nuggets may not work well for you.  Softwoods, like pine, take longer to decompose than other mulches, but when it breaks down, it enriches the soil with organic material.  Hardwood mulch tends to make the soil more alkaline when it breaks down; therefore, you need to be careful when using hardwood mulch around acid-loving plants.   

Shredded Leaves or Grass Clippings

Shredded leaf mulch is a free and nutrient-rich option if you have fallen leaves that you can gather from your property.  This organic mulch is ideal for flower and garden beds, as well as around shrubs and trees.  If you are looking for nitrogen-rich mulch for your vegetable garden, consider using grass clippings that have not been treated with herbicides or insecticides.  

Mulching Around Trees

Applying mulch around a tree is an essential practice to support its health and enhance the overall aesthetic of your landscape. Mulch serves as a protective barrier, helping to retain moisture in the soil, regulate temperature fluctuations, and suppress weed growth. When putting mulch down around a tree, it’s important to create a donut-shaped ring, ensuring that the mulch doesn’t touch the trunk. This prevents potential diseases and pests from attacking the tree. When choosing mulch for your tree, opt for organic mulch materials like wood chips, shredded bark, or compost, which will decompose over time and enrich the soil with valuable nutrients, promoting stronger root growth and a thriving tree.

Local Nursery Serving Pittsburgh and Surrounding Areas

A&N Lawn Service has a nursery conveniently located on Reis Run Road in Franklin Park, 20 minutes north of Pittsburgh, with a wide selection of bulk gardening materials.  From Rizzies Triple Shred to mushroom mulch to dyed cherry brown mulch, there are plenty of mulch varieties from which to choose.  Stop by A&N Lawn Services for expert advice on which mulch is best for your garden or call us at 412-931-9230.