Landscape lovers have many options when it comes to mulching flower beds and shrubs. These are a few.
Here’s an option that will make a lasting impression. Shredded hardwood can cover for up to three years, and makes for a great finish to landscape beds, informal paths, and woodland settings. It’s also good for sloping landscapes, and areas that tend to flood.
It might come as a surprise, but chopped cocoa bean hulls make a great, dark-colored mulch that can even add the fragrant scent of chocolate to landscapes for up to three weeks—ideal near seating areas. The mulch can last for as long as three years, but comes with a caveat. The hulls contain caffeine and theobromine, an alkaloid found in the cocoa plant. Both can be harmful to dogs. This threat can be minimized if the mulch is “cleaned” with high heat to help remove the dangerous compounds. The bag of mulch should indicate its contents.
Grass clippings are a relatively easy way to mulch. Using a lawnmower with a bag attachment, remove the clippings and spread a thin layer beneath shrubs and vegetable gardens. Don’t mulch with grass that’s been treated with herbicides or pesticides.
Here’s a cheap way to mulch that adds nutrients to soil and is especially good for new gardens. Some cities collect yard waste, compost it, and provide it free to residents. Make sure, however, that this compost is “turned,” meaning that a pile heats up enough to kill any weed seeds and organisms.
Seaweed compost adds micronutrients to soil as it decomposes. Some seaweed-based mulch is bagged and distributed nationally.
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