Horticulture/Wood Mulches

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Wood Mulches are the most commonly used mulch in many regions, since wood tends to be in plentiful supply. There are a number of different kinds of wood mulches, but all are essentially from the same source: waste materials from either the lumber industry or the landscaping industry.

Wood Chips[edit]

Wood chips are the product of chippers, which are used to process waste wood after pruning or clearing.

Advantages[edit]

  • The big advantage with wood chips is that they are generally free (or at least inexpensive), since they receive no processing aside from the chipping on site.

Disadvantages[edit]

  • Fresh wood chips are "hot", and need to be seasoned for several months before they are safe to use in garden beds (though they are fine for pathways)
  • Wood chips have an inconsistent texture.
  • Wood chips may contain thorns, coniferous needles, poison ivy, diseased materials, herbicides and pesticides, trash, etc.

Shredded Wood[edit]

Shredded wood is made from either wood chips or larger pieces of wood using a drum grinder or similar industrial-scale machine.

Advantages[edit]

  • Consistent texture
  • Readily available in many regions

Disadvantages[edit]

  • Can sometimes be hot or sour
  • Can contain disease spores if not seasoned

Dyed Shredded Wood[edit]

Dyed wood mulches are derived from a number of sources, including chips, larger wood, and waste lumber such as pallettes.

Advantages[edit]

  • Consistent texture and color

Disadvantages[edit]

  • Dyes stain hands and clothing.
  • Does not biodegrade as quickly

Bark Mulch[edit]

Bark mulch is derived from forest products, when trees are debarked at the mill.

Advantages[edit]

  • Attractive and long-lasting

Disadvantages[edit]

  • Expensive