Everything You Need to Know About Cedar Mulch
Cedar mulch is a popular choice for low-maintenance landscaping. It is most commonly found as either finely shredded mulch or as larger bark mulch. Many people use organic mulches such as pine bark, wood chips, pine straw, cedar bark, and hay to cover their perennial flowerbeds in the winter. This protective layer insulates plants that are borderline hardy and susceptible to cold temperatures.
Benefits of Cedar Mulch
Unlike other types of organic mulch, cedar bulk mulch does not break down and decompose rapidly. This means less time and work replacing mulch each year to keep your flowerbeds and walkways looking clean and new. It is helpful in establishing new flowerbeds or expanding currently designed beds as well. Placing a few layers of newspaper down and covering it with finely shredded cedar mulch before winter temperatures arrive is the perfect way to condition the soil and provide a fresh, weed-free area to garden in the spring. When the weather warms up, you simply till this area and have nutrient rich soil to plant.
Cedar has a naturally aromatic quality to it that many people find enjoyable. This pleasant scent has a hidden advantage in the fact that it acts as a natural insect repellant. Other types of organic mulch create a perfect environment for wood loving insects such as termites and roaches. If your gardens or walkways are close to your home, it does not typically take long for these pests to find their way indoors.
Cedar mulch is light in color, which helps keep the ground temperatures under it stable. Dark colored soil attracts heat from the sun, which can damage the root systems of your plants and slow their growth. A layer of cedar mulch allows moisture to get into the root systems, while keeping the sun’s heat off of the soil.
Disadvantages of Cedar Mulch
While the aromatic oils from cedar repel harmful insects, they repel many types of beneficial insects as well. With this in mind, cedar mulch may not be the best choice for planting flowerbeds that attract butterflies.
Cedar bark mulch can prevent nutrients from getting into the soil because of its durability. Other types of mulch decompose and need to be replaced, but the decomposition provides minerals and nutrients that can be tilled into the soil for the benefit of the next year’s plants. If you plan to use larger cedar mulch in your gardens, you should consider investing in fertilizers that can be applied with your regular watering to make up for the lack of decomposition.
Additional Uses of Cedar Mulch
Cedar bark mulch has many uses outside of gardening. Many people find that it is the perfect ground covering for use around swing sets and other outdoor children’s playground equipment. Bark mulches provide a layer of cushioning to protect against falls, and the insect repellant nature of cedar will help keep termites from overtaking wooden playhouses and play yards.
A layer of cedar mulch around your home’s foundation will not eliminate the possibility of termites, but can be an added boost to your terminate prevention plans. The attractive coloration of cedar bark mulch can help spruce up your landscaping even in areas where there are no other plants.
Purchasing Cedar Mulch
Most landscaping and builder supply stores offer bagged mulch at inexpensive prices. For larger areas, cedar can be purchased by the truckload from commercial and wholesale suppliers. When you shop for mulch, look for a bright color and strong cedar smell. Avoid overly wet bagged mulch or any that looks off color.
Some types of animals have adverse reactions to the oils found in cedar mulch. Before you place it in areas where livestock or pets frequent, always check with your veterinarian to be sure it is safe for the type of animals you keep.