Mulching 101: Different Types of Mulch Explained – Ability Tree Experts: Houston, Texas

Mulching 101: Different Types of Mulch Explained

Mulching is a great way to help to keep trees and shrubbery healthy.

Mulching can help the soil to conserve moisture, and helps to prevent fungus and other harmful bacteria from reaching a tree’s root system. Mulch also helps promote the growth of worms and other helpful insects. It also adds a barrier to help protect the tree from harm caused by lawn mowers and weed whackers. Proper mulching can be very beneficial to a tree’s health and well-being.

There are a few different types of mulch, and each one has a specific purpose. It’s important to understand the differences between mulch varieties, since choosing the wrong type can cause serious harm to trees and other plants.

Organic Mulch
Organic mulch is made from organic materials. This type of mulch should not have weeds, and commonly consists of materials such as wood chips, pine needles, and softwood bark. Depending on the climate, organic mulch usually deteriorates faster than inorganic mulch. Organic mulch requires more maintenance than inorganic, but it is often chosen by arborists because it has added benefits for the soil.

Inorganic Mulch
Inorganic mulch consists of materials such as lava rock, rubber and other fabrics. These materials do not deteriorate over time. Landscape fabrics are often used as a ‘base layer’ as they prevent weeds from growing, yet also allow oxygen and water through. While these mulch types require less maintenance, they don’t add anything back to the soil. Inorganic mulch is often used to improve the look of surrounding trees.

Rocks and Gravel
Rocks and gravel are also considered inorganic mulch, and are popular because of their low maintenance requirements, and the fact that they don’t deteriorate - requiring annual replacement. But this also offers some drawbacks. If you are considering rocks and gravel as mulch, you should keep in mind the replacement factor - should you need to replant a shrub or bush - replanting with rocks or gravel could be difficult. Rock mulch also absorbs heat during the day, and releases the heat at night, which causes water loss.

When choosing mulch, be sure to research the type of tree, shrub, bush, or flower you intend to plant. Different plants require and react differently to different types of mulch. What works on one, may not work on another. While proper mulch can greatly benefit your trees or other plants, the wrong mulch can also cause harm.

If you have any questions about mulching trees or landscape plants in Houston, Texas, contact Ability Tree Experts at 281- 441-4179.