Installing mulch provides numerous benefits beyond just aesthetics. Mulch protects soil and roots from the elements, helps to conserve water, and can add nutrients back into the soil. Consider both organic and non-organic mulches for your landscaping and choose a Florida-friendly mulch for your spaces.
Do you find yourself questioning what material you should use as a soil cover in different areas of your landscaping? There is a wide variety of mulches to choose from, both organic and non-organic, serving different purposes and with pros and cons to each.
In this article, we will go over the benefits and purposes of mulch and the best mulch options for Florida.
If you have a yard with areas of constant shade where grass does not grow well, use a mulch to cover the ground without needing to worry about whether it will survive or not. In spots that your irrigation does not reach or where mowing is a chore, use mulch as an alternative to grass.
Using mulch has many benefits beyond just sprucing up your garden. Mulch acts as a buffer for soil and plant roots, protecting them from sun and elements. It helps to conserve water by keeping the soil moist for a longer amount of time after watering. Plants’ roots are given more time to absorb water and are protected from extreme cold and heat.
A benefit of organic mulch is that it will decompose over time and deposit nutrients into the soil. This improves the aeration and drainage of the soil and will increase its fertility.
Following are a few organic mulch options that will do wonderfully in Florida:
Pine bark is an excellent option for sloped beds, as the pine interlocks and does not easily wash away. You can get pine bark ground or as nugget mulch. It is a byproduct of the forest industry.
Pine straw, like pine bark, will hold its place well because the needles knit together, making it another superb choice for gardens on a slope. It breaks down slowly and needs less reapplication than some mulches.
Melaleuca mulch is a Florida-friendly mulch option because it is a productive way to use these invasive trees. Don’t worry, though: the mulch is cured at high heat so that the melaleuca seeds will not germinate.
Fallen leaves and grass clippings make for a free, organic mulch that you can get from your own back yard! This debris has high nutrient content that will help improve your soil. However, it is quick to decompose and will require more frequent applications.
Utility mulch is another good choice if you are looking for an inexpensive option. It comes from the trees and plants that are trimmed by utility companies and is often given away by the companies.
You may decide that a non-organic mulch is the best option for your landscape. Non-organic mulches will not improve the fertility of your soil nor its ability to retain water. It is essential to install a ground cloth before applying a nonorganic mulch, especially in Florida’s sandy soils. Though these mulches will not contribute any nutritional value to your soil, they will not decompose and thus do not need as much reapplication.
Non-organic mulch options include rocks, gravel, pebbles, smooth glass chunks, and recycled tires.