Tips from Olle Garden Bed: Use Different Types Of Mulch For A Beautiful Garden

Mulch can do a lot for your garden or yard. Mulch does more than just look good, as it has many different uses to improve your gardens performance. There are four types of mulch you can choose from — wood chips, recycled rubber, plastic, and organic. Each one offers distinct benefits that meet a variety of gardening goals. Mulch is a valuable companion in the garden. It insulates the soil, conserves moisture, and prevents weeds from taking over your flower beds and landscape. Mulch can also help keep your plants and the soil cool during hot summer months. Using mulch, whether it's shredded bark, wood chips, or plastic will certainly benefit any landscaping or large gardening project that you might be planning in your garden.The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

There are some types of mulch you can choose from. Each one offers distinct benefits that meet a variety of gardening goals. The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

raised garden bed

What is mulch?

Mulch is any material laid on the surface of soil or laid and used for mulch.

Type of covering

Some mulches are more aesthetically pleasing than others, while others are more powerful and can add nutrients to the soil. Mulch is divided into two categories: organic and inorganic, both of which have their advantages and disadvantages.

Organic mulch: This is a natural mulch that is not made from any synthetic material. It is best for adding beneficial nutrients to your garden, and it can keep weeds in check, but it doesn't always completely block weeds.
Inorganic mulch: This is a synthetic mulch that is not made from natural materials. It is best for completely blocking weeds, retaining moisture and remaining for longer than organic, but it does not add value to the soil.


The best time to put down mulch is in the spring when the weather remains warm. But you don't want to put it down too early or you might accidentally bury emerging perennials. Mulch after weeding and after peeling off old mulch (do not add a new layer of mulch on top of an old layer). Autumn is also a good time to mulch to retain moisture and protect the soil and roots from the elements.

Organic mulch

Bark, chopped or chipped
Pine needles
The newspaper
Chopped leaves
The straw

Organic mulch will break down and must be replaced. But during decomposition, organic mulch also helps improve soil structure, drainage, nutrient retention and organic content. The drier the mulch, the more woody it is, the slower it breaks down and the less nutrients it gives to the soil.

It is worth knowing where the mulch comes from, as it may contain viable weed seeds or chemicals. The last thing you want is to spread mulch that will start to germinate and do more work for you, or contaminate your plants with chemicals. Each type of organic mulch has its own purpose. In general, organic mulch is best for vegetable gardens.

raised garden beds


Bark mulch is best used around trees, shrubs, and garden beds where you won't do a lot of digging. Bark is also best used for front walkways and foundation plantings. The wood mulch doesn't blend well into the soil, and constantly moving it aside to make way for new plants can become cumbersome. However, they will last longer than the finer organic mulch.

Pine needles

You may have heard that pine needles, also known as pine straw (pine needles harvested after they are dropped), reduce the pH of the soil. As mulch, pine needles may acidify the soil only slightly, but not enough to cause any problems for the plants. The only caveat is that using fresh green pine needles as mulch may add a bit of acidity to the soil, but it is still likely to be negligible. If you are looking for a mulch that will not compact but will suppress weeds and retain moisture in the soil, pine needles may be a good choice.


Grass clippings are a mixed bag best suited to remote areas of your garden where you want to suppress weeds. Grass clippings, like most green plant fragments with a high water content, decompose very quickly and in the process they become somewhat sticky and have an unpleasant smell, so use caution. Grass clippings also tend to sit down and not allow water to pass through.
Ideally, you should use a mulch mower and leave clippings on the lawn to increase the fertility of the soil. If you do bag grass clippings, do not throw them away unless you are using herbicides or other herbicides or pesticides on your lawn. Synthetic lawn care products can be harmful to certain flowers, and you certainly don't want to use them in your garden. 2 Untreated grass clippings can be dumped into the compost bin or used to mulch open unplanted areas.

The newspaper

Newspapers are becoming more and more popular as coverings. Most newspapers have switched to soy-based black inks and hydrogen peroxide to bleach pulp, but it's best to stay away from colored or glossy inks as coverings.
Shredded paper has been used for years to keep plant roots moist while being transported. Layered newspapers are also highly hydrating, and they work just as well as any other organic mulch in suppressing weeds and controlling soil temperature. They are also great for suffocating existing grass to kick-start new garden beds.

To use as mulch in the garden, lay a layer of four to eight sheets of newspaper around the plants. Wet the sheet to hold it in place. On a windy day, it's easier to wet the sheets before putting them down. Cover the newspaper with 1 to 3 inches of another organic mulch, and weed protection should last through the growing season.

Chopped leaves

Chopped leaves are nature's favorite mulch. They can be used anywhere, and it's a free-form covering. Leaves will also attract more earthworms into your garden soil. Some gardeners do not like the look of the leaves in their garden and they may not be suitable for a formal setting. If a layer is laid before the spring plants unfold, the leaf cover tends to blend into the view for a short time. Chopped leaves are great for woodland gardens, and if you layer your vegetable garden in the fall, it will start to break down in the winter.
Unchopped leaves can pad together and repel water in rain areas. If this happens, you can always rake them up and fluff them up a bit if they look dampened.

Straw and hay

Straw and salt hay are popular mulch for vegetable gardens. They prevent soil and soil-borne diseases from splashing onto lower plant leaves and make paths less muddy. Straw decomposition is very slow and will continue throughout the growing season. It also provides a good home for spiders and other beneficial insects that will move in and help control the pest population. Finally, it is easy to rake up or work into the soil when new crops need to be planted or the garden placed in bed.

Inorganic mulch

Plastic and landscape fabric
Gravel and stones
Synthetic and inorganic mulches do a good job of retaining moisture and keeping weeds at bay. They don't add any nutrients to the soil, but they don't break down as quickly or need to be replaced as often as organic mulch.

raised garden bed

Plastic and landscape fabric

Plastic and landscape fabric are good choices for surrounding base planters and other shrubs and trees. These plants don't need frequent fertilization, and in most cases you won't be working on these beds regularly, so you won't have to worry about weeding all summer long.

Plastic gets very hot in the summer, and in addition to choking weed seeds, it can kill all the good things in the soil, including plant roots and microbes, unless there's enough moisture. 5 Be sure to cut holes in the fabric to allow enough water to pass through. If you see puddles accumulating on plastic or fabric, you do not have enough drainage. The landscape structure is porous and should not be a problem unless it is blocked.

However, as plastic breaks down, it is harmful to soil and the environment. 6 Similarly, landscape fabric allows weeds to pass through when they decompose after a few years.

If you like the function of plastic or landscape fabric but don't like the look, you can always add a thin bark covering to the plastic or fabric for camouflage. As the bark breaks down, the weed seeds will be able to attach to plastic or fabric. You will also need to replace the bark as it decomposes. If you are building elevated beds, consider making them the same width as plastic or fabric so that you can cover the bed without seams. However, if you are an organic gardener, you may wish to forgo using plastic in your vegetable beds because it can contaminate the soil as it breaks down.

Gravel and stones

Gravel and stones work well as mulch in areas that require good drainage or where the plant beds need a little extra heat (such as Mediterranean herb gardens and rain gardens). Stones can be difficult to remove, so think twice before using them or gravel as a mulch.

Which covering you choose depends on the functionality and aesthetics you are looking for. There are more and more options available each year, so look at your options before starting to broadcast and choose a mulch that will satisfy you and serve your garden for years to come.

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