Mulch - Knowledgebase Question

Fort Lee, NJ
Avatar for dhahncpa
Question by dhahncpa
March 16, 1998
I mulch my garden in order to control weeds. There are 3 kinds of mulch in a local nursery. They are:
Shredded hardwood/bark mulch - $11/yd.
Cedar bark mulch - $28/yd.
Hemlock mulch - $41/yd.
I don't know which one I should purchase. Arethey all the same, as far as function?

Answer from NGA
March 16, 1998
Well, cedar and hemlock don't break down very they'll last a long time. However, as a gardener, I'm always happy to have my mulch break down so it can be incorporated into the soil. Besides, I usually add more each spring, to dress things up a bit.

My personal opinion would be to buy the cheap stuff, let it break down and be incorporated into the soil (which is VERY good for the garden,) and just buy more cheap stuff next year. (Because the hardwood mulch will decompose faster than the others, if you do incorporate the old mulch into the top layer of soil, be sure to either apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer at the same time, or wait several weeks before planting. The material is high in carbon, and can induce a short-term nitrogen deficiency.)

Cost and appearance considerations? Those are up to you!

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