As you drive around the Heartland, you see that most landscape beds are covered with some sort of mulch. Although many people consider decorative gravels as mulch, I would like to define landscape mulch as an organic material that is used as a ground cover. There are a number of different mulches to choose from. Perhaps I can help you discover the facts about different mulches and make your selection a little easier.
Mulches are used in landscape beds for a myriad of different reasons. First, mulch enhances the aesthetic look of a landscape. In addition a thick layer of mulch helps hold moisture in the soil. This water holding capacity is especially important during droughts and when trees and shrubs are first planted.
Probably one of the most important reasons to use mulch is to control cypress mulch seem to continually come up in your landscape beds. Mulch also controls erosion that could develop if the soils between shrubs would remain bare.
Mulch keeps plant roots cool during the hot part of the summer and warm during the coldest parts of the winter. In addition, mulch around a tree or shrub seems to be a visible barrier for the weedeater operator who wants to get as close as possible to trees and shrubs.
Of all the different kinds of mulch available, hardwood bark mulch seems to be the most popular, undoubtedly due to is low cost. It is the least expensive mulch found in the Heartland. Every sawmill in the Heartland produces hardwood bark mulch as a bi-product of the milling operation. Because it is so plentiful and local, hardwood buck mulch seems to be the mulch of choice.
There are some drawbacks to hardwood bark mulch. Pest control companies say that this mulch attracts termites. I doubt that it attracts termites, but there is no natural termite repellent in hardwood bark mulch. If termites are in the area, they will certainly like the addition to their home range.