Landscape mulch installation is the act of placing a protective barrier of mulch around your plants and over your bare soil. Mulch is used as soil covering for several reasons:
- Preserve water and retain moisture
- Trapping heat
- Weed prevention and control
- Help control soil erosion
There are many types of landscape mulch installation. It can be made up of a variety of decomposing organic materials, including bark or wood chips, or non-decomposing non-organic materials such as recycled tires, pebbles, and landscape fabric.
Pebble mulch/gravel is best used for pathways or driveways. It allows water to drain through, which cement and asphalt do not do. Gravel and pebble mulch also absorb some heat from the sun during the day, and give it off at night, creating a mini micro-climate.
Rock landscape mulch can be used in perennial flower beds or other perennial plantings. Large rocks absorb heat from the sun during the day, creating the potential for larger warm micro-climate areas than small pebbles. Dark stones and rocks will absorb more heat than white or light-colored stones. Larger stones and rocks also cover more area with fewer stones. A good covering of larger stones will also help prevent soil erosion.
Pumice rock is a type of landscape mulch made from very lightweight porous rock. Its porous characteristic allows it to trap and retain moisture. No other rock mulches are able to retain moisture. It will also absorb some heat from the sun, but not as much as other rock mulches.
Landscape fabric is a black fabric usually made from woven polypropylene. Using a black, landscape fabric catches the heat of the sun, warming up the soil beneath it sooner than usual. This keeps the soil a little warmer at night, making it possible to plant out heat-loving crops a little sooner than you otherwise would be able to.
Each type of mulch has its differing characteristics and uses. When deciding on the types of landscape mulch installation, it is best to talk to an experienced professional about your options.