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The Five Most Popular Types of Mulches
Recently I wrote an article about mulch but, I didn’t go into detail about the different types of mulches and which ones were the most popular types of mulch. Today, I want to go more into detail about the more popular types of mulch. Image Source: Flickr
The Most Popular Types of Mulch
In the garden center, you will come across a large variety of mulches, everything from wood mulches to rubber mulches. But I find that the most popular mulches change with the season. But what doesn’t change is that the most popular mulch is hardwood mulch. Some years its “No Float” cypress mulch and others it might be colored mulch.
In most big box garden centers, you might see at least five different types of hardwood mulches spread out through the bagged goods area of the garden center. Each one is different and have different pros and cons, but what they have in commons (besides being consider in the hardwood category) is that they are all more popular than any other mulches found in a landscape design.
Types of Hardwood Mulches
Below, is a list of five popular hardwood (cypress/pine bark is softwood but is sold along side hardwood mulches and referred to as hardwood mulche by some) mulches with a short description about them. Keep in mind, the most popular mulch may loose that title next season or in your region it could be different.
So when purchasing mulch, choose a mulch that you like and will look good in garden. Pick something that will benefit your garden and don’t be like the rest and do what everyone is doing.
One of the most popular mulches is Cypress Mulch. Most people choose cypress mulch because some brands offer a “no-float” product. In general, these products, have a mixture of size and texture of shredded cypress wood. Some of this mixture is more dense and will not float while others will float away in a flood. This type of mulch does fade faster than some, but it takes longer to decompose.
I prefer not to use cypress mulch. Because most cypress mulches are harvested from large slow growing swamp cypress trees. Since these trees are slow growing, it takes longer for the trees to grow large enough to harvest. They are being harvested faster than they can naturally growing. As they are harvested from the swamps, the swamps and the animal life is disturbed and can take years to recover.
Some brands of cypress mulch is more environmentally friendly and harvested only from areas that are being cleared for farmland or for other reasons.
Hardwood mulch is ground down hardwood from a variety sources. Hardwood mulches can be found at your local garden center, free from tree trimming services, and hardwood from properties locally and is ground down by the city.
Commercial hardwood mulch is aged, sterile, or at least screened before bagged. Unlike commercial hardwood mulches, free mulches are fresh, may contain seeds, insects, and diseased wood. Plus the free mulches tend to compost faster than aged hardwood.
Colored mulch is hardwood mulch that has been infused with color. You can usually find color mulches that are red, brown, or black. The most popular color is red. But brown is also popular since it looks more “natural” to some.
People buy colored mulch because it keeps it color longer that natural mulch and can help enhance the look of a flower bed.
There is a variety of brands that offer colored mulches. When purchasing colored mulch, cheapest isn’t necessarily the best option. A lot of the cheap brand’s colors do not last that long and may stain your clothes and your stonework around the yard when gets wet. But with the premium brands, they may come with guarantees that it keeps its color for a year.
Cedar mulch comes from cedar trees. The mulch is created from left over wood from the lumber yard or its cut for mulch only. Cedar is a great mulch to have in your garden. It has a great smell and insects do not like cedar. They will avoid areas with high concentrations of cedar.
I’m not a big fan of cutting trees down just to turn it into mulch, but cedar trees do grow pretty quickly and lot of times, the trees that are cut down for mulch were cleared from areas of future build sites or tree farms grown for harvesting. I generally use cedar mulches in vegetable gardens and round the foundation of a house to help prevent insects from getting inside (doesn’t always work, you still have to treat for insects.)
Pine Bark Mulch
Pine bark mulch is the bark of the pine tree. Pine bark is usually gathered at the lumber yard when the cut pine tree is stripped of its bark so it can be cut down and shaped into boards. If a flower bed requires level of pH, pine bark can help. It is slightly acidic.