Time to Mulch in Haymarket: 5 Helpful Tips for Buying Mulch

It’s time to mulch! Here are 5 helpful tips for buying mulch and spreading it …

Spring has arrived and so has the yard work. That means for many of us, it’s time to mulch. Besides giving your beds a clean, well-maintained appearance, mulch actually serves many other beneficial purposes. It insulates and protects roots from cold snaps and heat waves. It keeps the soil moist and reduces evaporation so you don’t have to water as much. It shades out weeds from sunlight to discourage growth. And, it protects trees by keeping mowers and trimmers at a safe distance.

But, there are different kinds of mulch—some are better than others and some better suited for different purposes. How do you know what kind to buy? Here a few things to consider when buying mulch:

mulch-haymarket-va.web1. Choose mulch for its purpose

A medium-textured mulch such as shredded hardwood will work in most places. But, big chunks, such pine bark nuggets will last longer for a permanent layer around trees. If you are digging through them in perennial beds, use something finer.

For vegetable beds, use something fluffy and easily decomposed such as straw. Non-organic covers such as gravel
or recycled rubber tires will last longer and cover the ground but won’t improve the soil.

2. Choose the right color

There are generally three colors to choose from in yard mulch: red, brown and black. Red mulch is often used in commercial settings but can look nice in some residential applications. It’s vibrant color provides a good contrast to light plants and also works well against light stone buildings. Because this mulch is stained, pay attention to walks and driveways, it can stain light concrete.

Brown mulch is the most common and adds a nice touch to any lawn or garden. It compliments all shades of green. However, it tends to lose its color after just one season. Black mulch is known for it’s long lasting color. But, since black attracts and retains sunlight it should not be used in areas with delicate plants.

Consider the color of your house when choosing mulch. For example, a red brick house clashes with a red-hued mulch.

RELATED: See Tips for Selling Your Upscale Home

3. Organic untreated or treated?

elite_logoTreated mulches can consist of added pre-emerging herbicides, to prevent weed growth. Less commonly, mulches are made from recycled wood that was pressure treated, which can leave behind harmful residues.

The concern with untreated, organic mulch is that it might provide an attraction to termites—especially if you are mounding bark mulch near untreated wood structures or against the foundation or siding of your house. Therefore, you should always keep a 6-inch barrier of stone or another inorganic material between your house and untreated mulch. Also, if you are trying to maintain an organic garden, you should not use treated wood. To avoid this, look for a seal of compliance from the Mulch and Soil Council or visit www.mulchandsoilcouncil.org for more information.

4. Bag or bulk?

Mulch comes in bags, usually containing 2 or 3 cubic feet. Buying mulch in bags allows you to buy different kinds for different purposes and is easier to handle and disperse. However, it is much more expensive. Most bagged mulches from reputable landscaping and garden centers or home-improvement stores are likely to be clean and safe. However, be careful of cheap bags of mulch, like those sold at gas stations. They may contain shredded construction debris or other waste with toxic chemicals, metals or lead paint.

Mulch can be ordered in bulk from landscaping or garden centers to be delivered. It can vary in cost, so shop around. Bulk mulch is measured in cubic yards—a cubic yard is 27 cubic feet.

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5. Plan ahead

You don’t want to buy too much—it wastes money and tempts you to spread it too deep, which can obstruct water and air to roots.  To determine how much mulch you need, measure your beds. Then determine how deep you want the beds:

  • 1 to 2 inches for perennial beds;
  • 3 to 4 inches over tree root.

Here’s a great mulch calculator at HomeDepot.com. Key in either the length and width or square footage. You can add multiple areas.  Then enter the material depth and calculate. You don’t have to remove old mulch, spread a new layer on top so old and new reach the right depth.

Are you interested in moving to Haymarket or Gainesville, VA. It’s a great place to live! Call Bryan Garcia at 703-517-2574 and he can show you around. See why Bryan is a TOP REALTOR in the Haymarket area.

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See this article in the Spring 2016 of Haymarket Homeowner: