The best mulch for your garden is easier to find today. Most garden centers have more varieties and cities and towns often offer free mulch that is made from trees they have removed throughout the year. This environmentally friendly garden ingredient helps save water, prevent erosion, foil weeds and protect your roses.
Today's wide assortment includes wood chips, all kinds of rocks and bark and newspaper sheet mulching is even getting more popular.
Ideally, if you want to use a mulch in your garden, pick one that compliments your environment and zone.
While their are good reasons to use mulch in many rose gardens, for some of you a rich organic and alive compost alone will be a better choice.
Please read on for more information about the pros and cons of mulch in the rose garden.
The Pros- Why Mulch Can Make Your Rose Garden Easier to Maintain
Mulch can help you conserve water and if you live in an arid Zone or you seem to be getting less rain water conserving water is a must.
Mulch helps keep the water you give your roses stay in the ground longer and it helps keep dew in the ground.
Mulch can help keep your weeds down. If you have a new garden where there was once grass or lots of weeds, mulch can save your back and endless hours.
When deep enough, it deprives weed seedlings of the light they need to sprout. Just make sure the mulch you are using is weed free.
Mulch can also fight soil erosion. If you have wind (which roses dislike to begin with) a good mulch will help keep your soil on the ground and out of the air.
If your garden is on a slope, a mulch can also help the soil say in place when rains wash your hills.
All in all, when faced with serious weeds, drought or soil erosion, mulch can be a great garden friend.
The best time to apply mulch is in the spring before your weeds are strong and tall. Generally, 2-4inches of mulch will slow most weeds down and stop some. Generally, 2-4inches of mulch will slow most weeds down and stop some.
The most determined weeds will push through but should be easier to spot and easier to pull out.
If you can get the pros of mulch with 2 inches, this is one time less can be more. Why spend the money on 2 more inches of product unless you need it.
It can also protect the soil from extreme temperature changes and erosion. If you live in an area where there are hot summers, light colored mulch will reflect light.
If you live in a cooler area, dark colored mulch will help absorb the suns heat.
Mulch can also be an attractive design feature and can be used to create a particular design look. For example, you may opt for a bark or ground cover that matches the tone of the colors of your home and landscape.
At the end of the day, if you are lucky to have light weeds, plenty of water and winds are rare, compost is all you will really need, provided you like the look.
The Cons-Why Mulch May Not Be Right for Your Garden
Some mulches maybe chemically treated. Be sure to find out if any mulch you are thinking of buying have been chemically treated. You may not want to bring the mulch and its chemicals into your yard and neighborhood.
If you live in an area with lots of rain, mulch can nurture mold or pests. You will want to look for a mulch that does not mat with heavy rains.
Keeping your soil with a neutral pH can also be more challenging with certain mulches. If your soil already tends to be acidic, picking a mulch with a high acidic level can have a detrimental effect on your roses. Most bark mulches and pine needles are examples of mulches that are fairly acidic. You want a mulch that helps you maintain a neutral pH level (around 6.5) in your soil.
Nitrogen levels can also be diminished by certain mulches as they decompose. Wood chips, for example, use nitrogen as they decompose. While this is natural process, rose need to eat and if they are competing with decomposing mulch they may not do as well as they could otherwise do. While you can add more nitrogen, it one more thing to do that you might not want to bother with unless you have to do so.
More permanent mulches, like landscape fabric, can bunch up over time and will be visible. They are not attractive and removing them can be time consuming.
The same is true for stones that looked so clean and shiny when they are installed. Over time, they look more natural which often means they are no longer clean and shiny.