Answer: Mulch is somewhat decorative however it also serves important purposes. The organic mulches break down slowly over time to feed the soil and replenish organic matter, help keep down weeds, help maintain soil moisture, and help moderate soil temperature fluctuations. In a flower bed most gardeners will use a fairly fine textured mulch such as pine bark fines or double shredded hardwood, or partly finished compost, or chopped rotted down leaves from last fall. (You could also use straw or cocoa bean shells or just about any organic mulch, depending on what is available.) In a shrub bed, you can use the same thing or use a mulch with a larger texture such as bark chunks or nuggets. The larger textured mulches tend to last longer. As far as which one is best, it depends on personal preference as well as what you can find available locally at a reasonable cost. I hope this helps.
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