Mulch is not supposed to be this complicated. Of course, neither was the transition from my personal computer to Mac …but that’s a completely different colorful illustration.
Help me understand why recycled old pallets, creosote drenched railroad ties, sand and other unmentionables belong in my beautifully landscaped beds. I can’t believe my Pink Knock Out Roses, boxwoods, ornamental grasses and blue hydrangea are going to send me a thank-you note for smothering them in these pitiful components. Surely the beneficial bacteria, crawling worms and happy fungi won’t benefit from such nasty filler.Just sayin’.
We’ve learned trying to save a few bucks on mulch produces incredibly inferior results. The plants go on a blooming strike, rain repels itself from the crusty surface cemented to the tops of the beds and the stale gray color depresses the ambitious color palate we originally designed.STOP.
Try shredded, hardwood, premium, or bark mulch with no fillers. That’s what works and breaks down just fast enough to feed the plants and nourishes the soil by composting into the ground. A few recycled years ago, an entrepreneur much brighter than I wondered about adding an environmentally-friendly, water-based dye to help the mulch retain itsrich color, and consequently, look fantastic from spring to spring.
After a few years of tweaking on the nasty mulch we “refuse to use,” I’m pleased with the process. This breakthrough is cause for celebration!!My apologies in advance for offending mulch producers everywhere… but simply do not purchase mulch for your beautifully landscaped beds full of fillers.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to our annual mulch addiction. I’ve enrolled in a few rehab programs and settled on a combination of solutions:
- Pockets of groundcover eat up mulching areas…we like ajuga, vinca, pachysandra and Baltic ivy.
- Plant areas heavily so most of the bed is consumed by shrub foliage… imaging boxwood, yews or spirea growing together.
- Decorative stone in an earth-tone color closely resembles the mulch appearance, holds its color and seldom needs top-dressed; clusters of boulders and dry creek beds work, too.
- Pine needle mulch offers a festive alternative and has the two basic components we all love…cheap and easy.
Mulching is basic maintenance that prompts your home to look luxuriously well-maintained and keeps trees, shrubs and perennials happy. I like happy.
Happy trails and happy mulching.