Gardening, something I’ve never really done in my 24 years of life. We’ve always lived somewhere where it wasn’t allowed as we were renting and my current house has a small yard and it’s mainly play place for children. However, it’s always something I’ve been slightly interested in! There’s so many different types of mulch out there for your gardens. What is mulch exactly you ask? Well, mulch is a material spread around or over a plant to enrich or insulate soil. The mulch I’ll be talking about with you all is wood chips.
Trees have been on this earth forever, so really mulch has to have been around forever, too since you can use wood chips as mulch nowadays. Bark and leaves fall off trees, hitting the ground beneath and enriching it; hello mulch! Wood chip mulch also benefits the environment because the wood that is going to waste goes into a garden versus our landfills. This mulch is also readily available and unlike most mulches that are lightweight, it doesn’t blow around due to the wind as bad. If you feel it doesn’t look well after a while, you can simply just compost it or work it directly into your soil.
In a study done in 1990, wood chips came in the top in the categories of moisture retention, temperature moderation, and weed control.
Moisture retention because if you cover the soil with two inches of wood mulch it should slow moisture evaporation.
Temperature moderation because wood chips block the sun which will help keep the soil cool.
Weed control because naturally weeds can have a difficult time emerging from beneath a cover of wood chips.
The wood chips contain both wood and bark bits in a wide range of sizes. This can be beneficial because it allows water to infiltrate the soil and prevents compaction. With the bits of wood and bark along with the range of different sizes, it decomposes at different rates which then creates a diverse environment for soil organisms.
Like everything, there are also some potential cons on using wood chip as mulch. However, in trials and studies, the concerns have been found to be inconclusive. Altered soil pH, allopathic potentials, disease transfer, increased pest activity, and fire hazard are some of these potential cons. Other cons can come from specific trees an example being black walnut mulch as it has strong allopathic chemicals and therefore can limit germination and seedling growth. When using wood chips, use around established plants only and avoid use in a vegetable garden, except to create paths.
Wood chip mulch comes in all sorts of different colors. Deep red, orange, ocher, coffee, black, rich mahogany brown, and more. Using the colored chips can offset your landscape. Colored wood chip mulch poses no threats to your plants, however the color will eventually fade as the chips break down.
Wood chip mulch seems to be the mulch that is used around my hometown I noticed when I was walking around and looking at the plants the town has planted throughout town. Until now, I never really gave much thought into what they may use for all the plants. I’m sure for around here, though wood chips are the best option for use.
Maybe one day, my family and I will start a little garden with use of wood chip mulch. Do you have a garden? Do you use mulch, if so which kind?
There are so many options out there for us to choose from with both great pros and some not so great cons. I feel with all the options it truly makes it hard to decide!