Looking at all the different types of mulch can be overwhelming. Pacing the aisles of your gardening center is time-consuming, and can leave you more confused than when you started. Different types of mulch have different pros and cons. Depending on your location and your desired level of maintenance. Save some time this year by having an idea of what type of mulch you need before going to the store. Our guide will help you choose the best mulch type for your Charlotte NC landscaping project.

Why Use Mulch?

Tree Bed Mulch Installation in Charlotte NC

Most people think of mulch as a wood chip material spread around trees or on playgrounds. Although it’s true that wood chips are a type of mulch. The word “mulch” refers to any material that is spread or laid over the surface of the soil as a covering. This can include materials such as pine needles, brick chips, or river rocks.

Mulch is used to suppress weeds, improve soil moisture, and moderate soil temperature. Many landscapers and homeowners also use it to make their garden beds look more attractive. Mulch has two different origins, organic and synthetic. In this article, we will focus on wood mulch. Wood mulch has an organic origin.

It’s important to know the origin of your mulch. Open mulch yards have no control over what the wind and birds bring into the piles of mulch they sell you. It can be less expensive to buy in bulk quantities, however, be prepared to add pre-emergent over your mulch after you have completed installing it. Bagged mulch is from a processing facility and usually has less likelihood of having other things in it. Nevertheless, once it is out in the open of your landscape, an application of pre-emergent will help keep seeds that come into your beds from taking root.

Shredded Mulch

Shredded Mulch Installation in Charlotte NC

Shredded mulch is very coarse and fibrous. It’s made by finely shredding the bark of hardwood trees such as oak. It has become an increasingly popular organic mulch in North Carolina. When you look at the benefits it is easy to see why. Some include quicker decomposition than chips, and a dense cover to keep moisture in and pests out. In newly constructed flower beds this mulch can help build the topsoil as it decomposes over time.

Cedar trees are shredded as well. Cedarwood is naturally resistant to insects, but the main reason some people use it is the pleasant aroma and its’ interesting natural red color.

If you have a curious pet around your landscape you may want to look for an alternative. Shredded mulch may be organic but it is not pet friendly. Mulch is harmful if chewed on or swallowed by animals as a choking hazard, but most will leave it alone.

Wood Chip Mulch

Professional Wood Chip Installation in Charlotte NC

Another environmentally friendly mulch is wood chip mulch. Chip mulch comes in varying grades and is made from Pine Tree bark. Some of the grades are referred to as nuggets (palm size), mini-nuggets, and pine fines also called soil conditioners.

It slowly breaks down in the soil over time. Wood chip mulch is commonly used for mulching around shrubs, perennials, trees, and small fruiting plants. Making it an attractive option to commercial businesses, playgrounds, and other large landscapes.

Some of its benefits include improving drainage, helps regulate temperature around plant roots, and preventing damage from heavy precipitation.

A disadvantage to using wood chip mulch is it could increase your risk for termites. If you have a termite problem on your property already, you may want to skip this one. Termites feed on the exact organic material bark mulch is made from.

Another factor to consider is that wood chip mulch degrades very slowly. If you like to have fresh mulch installed annually, the previous year’s mulch may need to be removed. Too much mulch around the foundation of your home can create moisture problems under the house. Thick mulch around trees can smother their roots.

Wood Pulp Mulch

Wood pulp is the actual wood itself. This option can come from the waste material from sawmills and furniture manufacturers that cut and shape wood products. Some brands of wood pulp mulch are made for gardening. These are carefully selected wood types for their plant benefits and are often more expensive.

Wood pulp mulch provides similar benefits to pine nuggets, such as soil temperature moderation, and improved soil moisture content. What separates this mulch from the others is its appearance. This type of mulch comes in varying shades, and some are dyed. The shade depends on the type of wood. Red and black are the two most common colors used on this type of mulch.

Best Types of Mulch for Charlotte NC Landscaping

Cedar Bark Mulch

Cedar is a natural insect repellent. This makes cedar bark great to keep pests out of your fruit and vegetable garden. The downside to cedar bark mulch is that it can become easily compacted. Stirring your mulch with a garden rake will loosen the mulch, and reintroduce air back into the mulch.

Pine Bark Mulch

Use pine fines for potted plants, small trees, and shrubs. Aged pine bark mulch is very rich in nutrients and can help your flower bed plants thrive. Pine bark mulch retains moisture well and protects the soil from cold temperatures. Pine bark mulch is one of the most popular mulches available in the market today.

Shredded Hardwood Mulch

Hardwood mulch is another favored mulch in the piedmont. Its rich dark color makes it very popular with homeowners. Aside from the eye-catching attributes, it adds nutrients to the soil through decomposition.

Wood Pulp Mulch

For a distinctive appearance, but with the same healthy soil and plant attributes, wood pulp mulch is a great option.

What if I Still Can’t Decide?

Ask the experts! The landscaping professionals at Hammonds Landscaping Corporation would be happy to help you with your landscaping projects. We specialize in lawn care, mulch installation, flower bed design, and more! Contact us today at (704) 213-1000.