Selecting Flower Garden Mulch
Flower Garden Mulch
Each year we mulch our flower gardens with pine bark mulch. Mulching your flower gardens has several benefits including:
- Weed Control
- Reduced Watering
- Pest Control
- Added Beauty and Value To Your Home
If you’ve taken a trip to your local garden center or nursery then you know there are more types of mulch to choose from than you can imagine. So how do you select a mulch for your flower garden? For me the answer is fairly easy so I’d like to share my thoughts on this subject.
In this part of the country (New England) I prefer using pine bark mulch (pictured in the photo of our flower gardens). I like this mulch based on advice that we received several years ago from Roger Cook from the TV show This Old House. We were fortunate enough to have the crew from the show “Ask This Old House” film an episode at our first home in Massachusetts about mulching flower beds. Needless to say I respect his opinion greatly and I’ve kept using pine bark mulch ever since.
The reason this mulch is good for us is it’s a locally available organic mulch. Pine bark is very abundant around here from the large timber industry so it’s a very “green” product. I like the dark earthy color of it which looks very natural and appropriate. I really can’t stand looking at the “bright orange” colored mulches that are obviously died. Not to mention what crazy chemicals are probably present in died mulch.
Types Of Mulch
There are lots of different mulch types to choose from. I recommend you visit a local garden center or nursery and ask them which mulches are organic and locally produced. Organic mulches come in many different types including: bark mulch, straw, leaves, grass clippings, pine needles and most any type of previously living plant material. I just suggest you pick a chemical, die free organic material which is locally available.
How Much Mulch To Order
You can buy mulch in small quantities in bags at your local garden center. However, if you have any decent sized gardens then you’ll need to buy mulch in bulk. Mulch is typically sold by the cubic yard when it’s sold in bulk. So you’ll need to calculate the quantity of mulch in cubic yards. To do that you need to measure your flower gardens to come up with the area. Most mulch should be spread about 2 to 3 inches deep (it’s very important not to spread it deeper than that!).
Area = Length x Width
(just measure the length and width of your garden and multiply them). This should be done in feet.
Volume = Area (in square feet) x Depth (in inches) / 324
(this gives the volume in cubic yards)
Example: A 6 ft wide flower garden that’s 22 ft long with 3 inches of mulch.
Area = 6 ft x 22 ft = 132 sq. ft.
Volume = 132 sq. ft. x 3 inches / 324 = 1.22 cubic yards.
Most bulk mulch purchases will require even cubic yards. So for the example you’d want to order 2 cubic yards of mulch. For our yard we ordered 3 cubic yards of mulch. The mulch costs $21 per yard with a delivery fee of $45 (the garden center is 15 miles away). This is certainly much cheaper than buying it by the bag!
What kind of mulch do you use in your flower gardens?
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