• Too Mulch of a Good Thing

  • Mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch,Mulch alternatives mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch, mulch,

    TOOOOOO much mulch!!

    I agree.  There is simply too much mulch needed in our yards to keep our plants happy.

    Guess what?  There are alternatives, contrary to popular believe and the propaganda from the mulch producers/your favorite landscape dude.

    Here are 4 top mulch alternatives:

    1. My favorite … plant shrubs densely so that weeds wouldn’t dream of hosting themselves underneath.  Sure you will need to throw a little mulch underneath every 3-4 years, but you can handle that.  Dense beds of perennials accomplish the same thing, just be certain to minimize the variety.  More variety equals more maintenance and often less impact.  A huge bed of hosta or coneflower is very commanding.  Plant densely.
    2. Boulder clusters consume space, add drama, offer an interesting texture, are easy to maintain and don’t require mulching.   So, we like boulder clusters with a few specimen perennials or ornamental tree around them.
    3. Complete gravel or crushed stone beds can be stark (think Arizona).  The right stone with the right color and texture can be great however.  Better, have portions of beds that are gravel with the remaining as mulch or a small secondary bed as entirely gravel.  I have a few beds that are ALL gravel and I love them.  Especially during mulch season.
    4. Groundcover rocks.  Small beds of ajuga, pachysandra or sedum are best because of their diminished spreading appetite.  While I love Baltic ivy and other evergreen groundcovers, they do carry with it a bit of semi-annual maintenance with pruning and weed pulling.   But you don’t have to mulch it!!
    5. Finally another great method of saving on mulch is to employ a pea gravel path to get to your hose or a corner wood pile.

    Make no mistake, I LOVE the smell of mulch.  Its fresh, earthy and it means I likely have projects going that are contributing to the P&L.  But, there is simply too much mulch being consumed.