Salt Lake City 1/8/2013 7:15:15 AM
News / Nature

The Best Mulch to Use for Acidic Soil

Mulch-Pro, the experts in mulch, soil sand and gravel supplies, now offers the best mulch for acidic soils. The best mulch for such soils are mineral mulches made of gravel, marble chips, pea gravel, coarse grit or crushed rock. Many of these stone mulches are alkaline and might serve, over time, to raise the soil’s pH or maintain it. Organic mulches like composted pine bark risk making the soil even more acidic and might make it inhospitable to all but the most acid loving plants, like azaleas. Stone mulches are also fire proof, which is a consideration if the garden is located in an area that’s subject to brush fires.

Stone mulches can be very attractive, are too heavy to be blown away by the wind and of course don’t decompose. This means that they only need tidying and maybe weeding as opposed to yearly replenishing. Also, the surfaces of these stone mulches dry quickly after watering or a rain while keeping the soil beneath them moist. This reduces the sort of humidity that can lead to diseases. Pale colored stones and gravels can reflect light up into the plants, which might help them thrive. Gardeners also have to use less stone mulch, in general. An inch or so will provide good cover for a plant. Since organic mulch tends to settle, the gardener might need about three inches, depending on the type of soil. The gardener can find out how much mulch she needs by multiplying the square footage of the area to be mulched by the depth of the mulch. Then, she should multiply this by .0031. No mulch should be applied so heavily that it blocks air and water.

Like other mulches, stone mulches keep the temperature of the soil even throughout the year and helps guard against erosion.

Mulch should be laid at its thickest between plants then tapered down to soil level within an inch of the base of the plants. It should never be piled against the trunks or the crowns. The best time to add mulch would be right after a rain. The best season would be winter or whenever the garden is dormant. Whatever mulch is used, the soil should be cleaned and free of weeds before it’s applied. The gardener might want to lay down a landscape fabric over the area to give the plants further protection against weeds.

Of course, Mulch-Pro offers other mulches. Organic mulches can include raked and shredded leaves, pine needles, ground hardwood bark, brush trimmings and wood chips, nut hulls, grass clippings, and even ground up  coconut husks, corn cobs and over-roasted coffee beans. Which one a gardener chooses depends on her taste and her budget. These types of mulches decompose. Some decompose so surprisingly quickly, especially if they’re in a warm climate, that they may have to be replaced every year. However, some types of organic mulches only need to be replaced every two years.