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Choosing The Right Mulch For Your Garden

People new to gardening often overlook the importance of selecting the right mulch for their garden. Some factors are quite obvious, while others have not been thought of. Below are some factors that you need to keep in mind when you hit the garden store for mulch:

1. Choose a mulch that does not promote the depletion of nitrogen. Nitrogen is a very important (and essential) nutrient that needs to be in your soil. However, this nutrient can be scarce depending on the type of mulch used.

A good example would be using finely chopped mulch, like sawdust. There are microorganisms that are responsible for decomposing this sawdust while at the same time they seriously deplete it of nitrogen that is needed for your plants. In time, if your perennials and other flowers are living in this type of mulch, the lack of nitrogen will cause them to become “chlorotic”, or yellow in color, which is the result of a nutrition deficiency.

Should the rest of your garden start the same chlorotic signs, then it is time to consider that you have a nitrogen depletion problem. A good way to fix this is to add approximately 2 pounds of complete fertilizer spread out for every 100 ft. Spread the fertilizer all around your soil and then lay down your mulch. If you are not facing a nutritional deficiency in your garden then you can also use this technique as a preventative measure against nitrogen depletion.

2. Another factor to consider when buying mulch is its flammability. This is one of those situations that most gardeners rarely consider. However, many fires are started in garden areas due to smokers flicking their cigarettes when they are done. This is especially true if you have created a garden area around an office building or some other public area.

Dropped cigarettes and lit matches can easily set off mulches that are organic. Even if your garden is created in your backyard and is totally personal, you still may want to consider flammability as a possible hazard in case anybody does come over and has a cigarette or two. Fire dangers include hay, pine needles, recycled mulches, and straw.

3. Last but not least, be careful when using organic mulches in areas that are poorly drained and gather up moisture easily. These low-lying wet areas may collect gallons of water which can produce toxic chemicals due to the decomposition that is occurring. These chemicals are a danger to your perennials and other flowers because of its toxicity. If the garden area you are considering is already prone to this type of water build up, then adding mulch is not a good idea and will only slow down the soil’s process of drying out.