The Natural Benefits of Mulch in the Garden

March 2, 2010

This article on the carefree benefits of using mulch in the garden and around the landscape is a guest post by Marcy Tate:

Garden mulch can enhance the look of your garden and help keep your garden healthy. Placing it in your garden can also save you time by decreasing the need for watering, applying herbicides and pulling weeds. A healthy vegetable and fruit garden always begins with healthy soil, and a healthy soil can be encouraged through mulching.

Enjoy these Great Advantages of Mulch in the Landscape:

  • Helps moderate the soil temperature
  • Enhances the growth of fruit and vegetables planted
  • Retains moisture during dry weather, reducing the need for watering
  • Reduces excessive weed growth
  • Natural mulches can improve the structure of the soil
  • As mulch decays it becomes topsoil adding nutrients to the soil
  • Enhances the beauty of your home by adding color and uniformity
  • Mulches help prevent damage to trees and shrubs by lawn equipment

There are two general categories of mulch; organic and inorganic. Organic types are made from natural matter, such as bark, wood chips, straw, leaves, pine needles, or grass clippings. Inorganic mulches includes gravel, pebbles, black plastic and landscape fabrics.

Making Comparisons between Organic and Inorganic Mulches

Organic mulch is the most beneficial to your garden. Unlike manufactured types, organic mulch helps improve soil by adding organic matter as it decomposes. According to the United States Department of Agriculture; “Mulch may also encourage the growth of worms and other beneficial soil organisms that can help improve soil structure and the availability of nutrients for plants.”

Organic mulch also costs less than inorganic mulches. Many local Park and Recreation Departments give away wood chips and bark at no charge. A small disadvantage is that because organic mulch decomposes over time, it needs to be replaced after several years.

While inorganic mulch (also known as man-made mulch) doesn’t benefit your garden as much as the organic varieties, it is easier to maintain. The various types of inorganic mulch do not attract pests and do not decompose. Inorganic mulch is an especially good weed barrier.

Tomorrow Marcy will return to identify specific types of mulch and their application as useful elements in the garden or around the home landscape.

Marcy Tate is a passionate gardener and home improvement diva who works her magic armed with nothing but a hammer, screwdriver, and crazy glue! She recently relocated to Wyoming, has worked with landscaping contractors for over a decade, and can be found blogging at

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  • For many years I used broken slate or stones to cover my soily parts in the garden. I made the mistake though of not putting a weed liner underneath and soon found the weeds unmanageable. I dont know about you but I find that when I moved to using mulch rather than slate, the weeds lessened. Did anyone else notice this? Also the mulch looks really great as mentioned in this blog.

  • Paul, you said it right. Using mulch is really a win-win-win situation. It looks great, is great for the soil and decreases weed growth. I definitely noticed less weed growth in our garden when we used mulch.

  • Pingback: Common Types of Mulch for the Garden | Vegetable Gardening and Veggie Gardening Tips()

  • This is how I love to make my flower beds
    1.Compost Cow Manure mix – ideal for application requiring no
    additional boost of nitrogen.
    2.Topsoil Plus – A mix blend of topsoil and composted dark mulch ideal base for mixing in the bed installation.
    Just add water grabber to hold water and black woven lumite fabric for weed control then top dress with natrual mulch.

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