There are different kinds of bark mulches to choose from. First of all, the reason you mulch is to conserve soil moisture and to prevent weeds from growing. When you go to the garden center, whether you are going to buy mulch in bags or in bulk, you'll see a lot of choices.
Here is some cedar mulch which is a nice one. It's long lasting, it's rot resistant, and it's got a nice smell to it. And some people think that it repels insects if you put it around trees and shrubs, especially ants. It's a nice one to have; however, what happens over time is that it gets kind of a silvery white color, so the color fades. It bleaches out a little.
If you want the Cadillac of mulches, you can choose hemlock mulch. It has a nice, rich color to it, it's long lasting, but it holds its color much better than the cedar. But it's a little more expensive.
And then there is the pine and spruce mulch mix. It's a little darker mulch and nice if you have acid loving plants, such as rhododendrons, azaleas, and blueberries. They like the acid in this mulch. It does break down faster than the other two mulches, and versions of pine mulch have chunks in it, nuggets, so it's a little hard to walk on. This will last a whole season, but not much more than that.
If you want an exotic mulch, you can have the cocoa hulls. These are cool! Ah! Chocolate! It's a great one to use if you just want to mulch around herbs or perennials. If it's windy, it blows away, if it gets really wet it gets moldy, and if you have dogs, it has theobromine in it, so if dogs eat it, they can really get sick. So, it's not a good mulch to use if you have dogs.
When you are mulching, a 2- to 3-inch thick layer is all you should have. You shouldn't really pile it on. And take off the old mulch, before you put the new one on every year.
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