Which Mulch is Best for me?
For Do It Yourselfers, we offer very competitively priced mulch and can deliver to you. Of course, we also install mulches.
Pine straw (pine-needles)
- Long leaf pine-straw is generally preferred over slash pine straw and ideally has a golden color when installed. It easily lasts a year in shady conditions, but will need replacing after about 5-6 months with an abundance of sun exposure, as they break down much more readily in sun. Expect to pay between $4 and $5.60+tax per bale for long leaf pine-straw and between $6 and $9 per bale if including materials and labor, depending on whether installing 25 bales, 50bales, 150+ bales, or anything in between. The nutrient value of pine-straw is minimal, but it is relatively inexpensive, looks good when spread, and minimizes weed issues.
Hardwood mulch is great for many reasons. You get weed control. It forms a dense mat that makes it possible to rake leaves and such without raking up too much of the mulch. It breaks down over the course of one to two years, meaning you typically will not need to remove anything before “freshening up” with a new layer, and the nutrient break down is very beneficial to your plants. Soil temperature and moisture are also well regulated by hardwood mulch. Rarely ever, almost never have I ever had a plant die that was established and freshened up yearly with hardwood mulch. About the only drawback to hardwood mulch is that there is great potential for little saplings, ie baby maples and oaks. The trick is to treat with a pre-emergent, such as prodiamine, and anything else that pops up with a little RoundUp (glyphosate) with diquat in the mix. Pre-emergent is a great way to minimize your weeds in the first place, especially if you have perennials you don’t want to accidentally kill with round-up during the growing season.
Pine-bark Mulch/ Shredded Pine
- Pine bark mulch looks great, lasts well, and controls temperature and moisture. It doesn’t provide as much nutritional benefit as hardwood mulch, but little saplings are generally less likely/more minimal. If you use pine-bark mulch, you’ll want to supplement your plants with additional fertilizer.
Designer Mulches (dyed black, brown, or red)
- These mulches look great when they go down and usually hold color for an extended duration. Be cautious if using in an area that children will be playing. Their dyes typically contain lead. Also, just as it looks so amazingly consistent, be aware that leaves & any imperfections on the surface stand out. These are usually best done in areas with minimal traffic, smaller shrubbery, and few deciduous trees.