Mulch must-knows | The Dirt | Better Homes & Gardens

hi I'm Stephen or today we're going to

talk about one of the most basic parts

of gardening but also one of the ones

that people find the most confusing

because it's mulch this buffet don't eat

any of this but this is a mulch buffet

that we set up to kind of show you and

compare and contrast what the different

kinds of mulches are and why you use

them in certain situations let's start

with the basic chipped wood mulch or

bark mulch that we have in our gardens

this one is a natural Cypress you know

we have a wide variety of colors now and

you know I'm not here to tell any more

to do but I'm not a huge fan of red

mulch Norma has huge fan of dyed black

mulch the thing with these dyed mulch is

is is there's different kinds of wood

that are all dyed so that they look the

same and when you want that look that's

fine but my opinion of mulch is it

should not call attention to itself it

should actually be very natural looking

so some people kind of gravitate towards

the bed or the black mulch but to me

it's hard to fit into a garden in a way

that doesn't just scream hey here's my

mulch so what I like to go for is more

natural look the shredded Cypress is

really great because it's smaller these

larger cedar chips one of the problems I

have with these is each one of these

becomes like a little boat in the rain

so sometimes these things will just head

right into the sidewalk or into the

gutter and be washed away so you're kind

of throwing your money away sometimes

they're so be careful when you're

working with really large chipped mulch

because it gets very has a lot of

flotation to it so the shredded cedar is

good also other natural approaches that

are good is just composted leaves this

has grass in it you have to be careful

about having too much grass in your

mulch so when you do make your own

compost you know really look at that

balance of grass clippings first

Brown leaves and green things from your

kitchen that's a good mix oh you know

making a mulch out of compost is one of

the best and most nutritious mulches and

not everybody has that so when you're

going out to a garden center you can

look for compost as a mulch that'll work

as well

another mulch and this one actually is

sometimes just a larger pieces of straw

but straw works well it's classically

used and a vegetable garden or under

things like strawberry plants so that

they can kind of not get into the mud so

much so strong mulch is something that

really does stand out visually in the

landscape but it also is used and more

kind of utilitarian settings as a


the last much we have is stone and so

you have to be really careful with stone

as a mulch because depending on where

you live the stone gets really hot so

really the best way to use a stone mulch

is to do it with a pectus garden or

perhaps a rock garden where you have a

rock garden where these plants actually

like to grow in stones and when you're

using these sort of decorative stones as

a mulch you probably do want to use a

landscaping fabric which is easily

available at any garden center and this

will go under the stones because when

you don't have that underneath all the

weeds will poke right up and you'll

spend all your time trying to get those

weeds out of the marsh

these are very large stones is despite

as large as I would use you'll see some

gardens that have a white version of

this or a volcanic version of this and

those can all be really cool design

statements with the right kind of

practice and you get much more of a kind

of a South American or tropical look

with that kind of garden and then

regular pea gravel works as well and

that works well in a flower garden or a

garden where you have a little more

formal aspects with boxwood mulch would

look right there

so basically the basic mulch you're

going to want to gravitate towards in my

book is a natural colored shredded small

small or fine kind of mulch like this


and you can over mulch your garden it

will kind of strangle the plants because

what happens if it gets pretty deep

let's say you go this deep this lower

area doesn't get any oxygen so the soil

needs to have kind of breathe a little

bit so you don't want to cover it up so

much that you the soil can't breathe

anymore and sometimes you'll see a

garden where someone is over most and

the plants are just kind of like you

know they're trying to like catch a

breath but they can't because they're

being smothered by too much mulch what I

do is like once a year usually in the

spring I take a look at my garden beds

and I see where motions can be reapplied

as I said before sometimes these things

will float away so depending on where

the situation is whether it's a flat

area or a bit of a slope you need to

take a look and make sure that you have

a good coverage so if you're wanting to

apply a large amount of mulch and not

just touch up you really want to cover a

big area of your yard you might want to

investigate in having a mulch delivery

from a bulb supplier it'll be more

inexpensive it'll be easier for you in

many ways because you won't be having to

haul all those bags one at a time to and

from the store and one of the main

reason to use mulch is to conserve

moisture especially in the summertime

mulch helps the soil stay moist it helps

it not dry out it also helps the surface

of the soil not get hard and stay much

more pliable when you're trying to plant

or use

to work in your yard the other thing you

want to do with mulch is take a look in

the fall and see if we need to apply

before winter because the other side of

mulch is as much as it triggers moisture

and also preserves temperature and it

helps temperatures from getting too

extreme but be careful when you apply

mulch in the fall just make sure that

it's gotten really cold it actually

should probably be early winter by the

time you apply you don't want to apply

the mulch while it's still too warm you

want to wait till the ground has

actually froze in a few times and then

put on the protective blanket on top of

that so with all these options you have

now you know you can head to the store

you can buy the best mulch for the best

situation and you'll be all set for the

rest of the season