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Choosing the Best Type of Mulch for your Commercial Landscape

August 21, 2013 at 8:09 am

Village at Lee AirparkCommercial landscaping can be a benefit to your business, but the key is in choosing the right plants and products to ensure your landscaped areas consistently portray a clean, manicured look that compliments the property and creates curb appeal.

Mulch is an important part of your commercial landscaping. While you may not think much about it, mulch provides many benefits.  A good mulch will reduce water loss, keep weeds from popping up and spreading, and will protect your expensive landscaping from temperature extremes through all seasons.

There are many choices when it comes to types of mulch, from recycled products to natural materials.  Mulch is broken down into two types of materials – organic and inorganic. Organic mulches come from natural plant materials, while inorganic mulches include products such as gravel and recycled materials. Considerations such as cost, availability and longevity should be assessed when choosing which types of mulch to lay in your commercial landscape.

So which mulch should you choose for your commercial landscape?

Bark Mulch –  A popular choice, bark is an attractive choice and for the most part stays put and will not deteriorate easily. The negatives are that bark will not add nutrients to your soil and can actually pull nitrogen from your landscaping, leaching your plants of beneficial nutrients.

Wood Chips – Finding wood chips can be easy and cost effective, as most towns will have them available from tree clearing and other projects. Wood chips weather easily and can also pull nitrogen from the soil leaving your landscaping looking less than its best.

Sawdust –  A good medium for evergreens that like acidic soil, sawdust can provide a pretty color and attractive scent. However sawdust decomposes easily and needs to be renewed often, which makes it a poor choice for commercial landscapes in particular.

Cocoa, buckwheat and cottonseed hulls – If you have a very visible landscaped area, hulls of certain plants can be very attractive due to their different textures and colors. Hull mulches are often more expensive and blow or wash away easily. The potassium content in cocoa hulls may also be toxic to some plants.

Straw – Available and inexpensive, straw is quite often used as a winter mulch or a crop cover for delicate plants, it is good at stopping weeds and keeping water in the ground. Problems with straw include grain seeds that can start growing in your landscaping, it can attract rodents, it is flammable and it would need to be refilled annually.

Crushed stone, gravel or volcanic rock – These organic materials offer some great advantages.  They are weighty enough that they will not blow away, and they are free of other seeds meaning you won’t get weeds and unwanted plants popping up in your landscape. While attractive and not easily moved, these materials do not work well with acid loving plants and if not laid properly, could cause injury.

Rubber Mulch – Made from old tires, rubber mulch offers good insulation and its non-porous material will not absorb water, ensuring any rainfall or irrigation makes it to the soil and, ultimately, your plants. The disadvantages of rubber mulch are that it will not enrich your soil through decomposition and can at times leach toxic chemicals, thereby harming your plants.

When deciding which types of mulch to use in your commercial landscaping, you will want to consider cost effectiveness, your current and future plants’ needs and which mulch will provide an attractive addition to your landscaping.  Here at E-landscape we can help you decide which mulches and plants will suit your needs best and help you to maintain your business landscape so that it becomes a showpiece for your company or property.