When it comes to mulch, there are two main classifications: organic and inorganic. Within this, there are different types. Are you looking for the perfect mulch to enhance your landscaping?
One of the types is dye-enhanced mulch. You might be trying to determine if it’s worth it. In this article, we debunk all these questions and more. Learn about the various types and colors of mulch, as well as their benefits like weed prevention and temperature control.
Discover how hardwood mulch can be a cost-effective way to make your backyard look beautiful this summer!
Learn more about dye-enhanced mulches, and if they are worth it to make an informed decision about what to order on your next mulch delivery. Read on to find out more.
Types of Mulch
When it comes to mulching, there are two main options available: organic and inorganic.
Organic mulches are composed of materials that were once alive such as chopped leaves, straw, grass clippings, composted wood chips and bark bits; sawdust from lumber milling operations; pine needles, or even paper.
On the other hand, inorganic mulches comprise black plastic sheeting and geotextiles (landscape fabrics).
What Are the Benefits of Mulch?
Mulch is a useful landscaping material you should be adding to your planting mix. It can drastically cut down your need to water plants, as it helps reduce evaporation rates from the soil.
Additionally, mulch breaks up dense clay and permits air and moisture to move through the dirt with ease. Not only does this provide essential minerals to sandy soils but also reinforces the dirt’s capacity to retain water.
Mulch also helps to regulate temperatures for your plants and protect them from extreme temperatures. It can help keep the soil warmer in winter and cooler in summer, helping your plants battle fluctuations throughout the year. It also has the ability to prevent weed growth due to its barrier covering, thus reducing the need for weeding.
Dye-Enhanced Mulch vs Ordinary Mulch
Dye-enhanced mulch offers the same benefits as ordinary mulch, but it also has a vibrant hue that can last up to two years. It will help boost your curb appeal and add color to your landscaping while retaining mulch’s natural protective qualities.
Some characteristics and dyed mulch benefits include:
- Dyed mulch retains its natural protective qualities
- It reduces the need for weeding
- It helps regulate temperatures for plants to protect them from extreme temperatures
- Dyed mulch boosts curb appeal and adds color to landscaping
- The long-lasting vibrant hue that can last up to two years
Is Coloured Mulch Safe for Your Garden?
Have you ever seen people’s yards with colored mulch? Red and black are two popular colors. You might be wondering if this type of mulch is safe to use.
Colored mulch is just as safe for your garden as mulch that isn’t dyed. Whether you choose to use dyed mulch or natural mulch is up to you. However, there are some things to consider before making a decision.
What About the Dye?
To achieve their vibrant hues, mulch dyes depend on two main components: iron oxide and carbon. Iron oxide is the same rust found in paint, cosmetics, and flower dyeing. Carbon is often used as a pigment for ink or paint.
Fortunately, these ingredients are non-toxic and completely safe to use! Other colors may be formed from vegetable-based colorants also taken from natural elements.
The Mulch and Soil Council conducted an exhaustive study that established that the colorants used in colored mulches are not toxic if applied correctly. This meant that there was no adverse impact on the environment.
To safeguard yourself, always inquire about your chosen product from your supplier. They should be well-equipped with information regarding their products.
Dyed Red Mulch
Red mulch owes its vibrant hue to iron oxide, a combination of the essential element and oxygen. We are all familiar with this compound’s unique reaction. This is what we call “rust,” which appears as a reddish hue.
Despite rust having somewhat negative connotations, it is actually risk-free for your garden and is what gives red mulch its color.
Dyed Black Mulch
We shouldn’t be taken aback that black mulch is colored with carbon, given the fact that charcoal usually contains it. This is safe to mix into your topsoil.
Dyed Brown Mulch
Dyed brown mulch is often made from natural mulches. This coloring agent is usually a non-toxic water-based dye. Dyed brown mulches are non-toxic to your garden and can be mixed with compost to give a more natural appearance than using either red or black colored mulch.
Be Aware of the Mulch Source
Although using colored mulch is in theory harmless to your garden, it’s worth taking note of where the wood which has been used in the much comes from
Recycled wood may be treated with creosote, a potentially harmful preservative. Even old wood pallets used for mulch can contain contaminants if they were used to transport hazardous chemicals in the past.
It can be difficult to tell. You’ll have no way of knowing what purpose these materials served prior to being recycled as mulch. Therefore it’s important to care when purchasing mulch.
What Is in the Wood?
As the dyes used in colored mulch have been deemed secure for use, the focus has shifted to what type of wood is being used. Reusing wood is beneficial for our environment. However, it could contain hazardous toxins (such as lead) from its prior uses if we aren’t careful about what kind of timber gets selected.
If you’re looking for colored mulch, be sure to take the wood content into account. Ensure that your supplier has sourced their raw materials from reliable sources. This will guarantee that there is no foreign material present in your finished product.
What to Look Out For
Don’t be fooled by the seemingly harmless appearance of CCA-treated wood. It can actually raise the arsenic level in your soil. This is one of the worst sources to consider when purchasing mulch.
Sadly, even after 2002 when its use was banned due to safety concerns, it’s still hard to determine. Products are still available today which contain old and leftover chromate copper arsenate (CCA). Be vigilant so as not to put yourself and your garden at risk.
MSC Certification Logo
You can guarantee that the dyed mulch you are purchasing is safe and secure for humans. Keep an eye out for the MSC Certification Logo.
The MSC stands for Mulch and Soil Council. This verifies a product’s CCA-free status with their Product Certification program. This seal of approval can be located at various retailers and garden centers across America. To ensure your mulching experience is risk-free, seek out products endorsed by the MSC Certification Logo.
Precautions to Take When Using Dyed Mulch
Since uncertified mulch has the potential to be hazardous, it is better to take preventative measures and wear gardening gloves when handling this product. Don’t risk your health; always choose caution over convenience.
Not only do we prioritize our children’s well-being, but our pets are also as important to us and should be managed with the same care. Therefore, it is logical for owners to keep their canine or feline companions far from mulch-covered areas to protect the skin on their paws.
You may also want to build a fence or a way to keep pets and children out.
Building a chicken-wire fence is one of the most affordable and convenient ways to keep your pets away from your garden. All that’s needed is some stakes pounded into the ground and wire connected securely in place around them.
Will Coloured Mulch Affect the Soil?
Concerns exist that when using wood mulch, the carbon of the wood will interact with nitrogen in the soil and use it to facilitate decomposition. However, this can also deplete nutrients from the ground over time.
Fortunately, colored mulches decay more slowly than regular wood chips; resulting in slower nutrient depletion from your soil.
To help combat this, apply a nitrogen-enriched fertilizer. This is essential in helping your soil thrive. Whether or not you opt to use mulch, regular fertilization will support the health of your garden.
For optimal results, try removing old layers of mulch before adding fresh ones. Alternatively, make sure to stir up current layers on a monthly basis for natural decomposition processes to take place.
Types of Mulch to Consider
Mulch is an all-encompassing term for a layer of material placed on top of the soil, ranging from straw to plastic landscape fabric and even recycled automobile tires. There are different types of mulch you will want to consider. This is based on its purpose beyond the aesthetics of using cloured mulch gives.
For example, pea gravel for plants that need great drainage and a dry soil surface. Wood chips are better for woodland and garden paths but not as a soil covering.
Pine Bark Nuggets
These are chunks of warm red-brown chipped pine, usually offered in various sizes. They come from a softwood lumber mill, making them an ideal choice for attractive and enduring natural mulch.
The larger nuggets might appear too large in small beds with fine foliage plants and tend to migrate on sloped surfaces.
These work well if you’re looking for mulch that adds texture and luxury to a small, urban garden. They don’t come with the chunky look of traditional mulches.
Its particles are finely shredded like coffee grounds which differ in fineness depending on the brand. Not only does it add aesthetic appeal to any garden setting but also serves as a soil amendment. They also provide nourishment to acid-loving plants such as azaleas, hollies, and rhododendrons.
It’s worth keeping in mind that it may not be as effective when compared to other kinds of mulches when it comes to controlling weeds.
Shredded Hardwood Mulch
The grindings of deciduous trees create double-shredded hardwood mulch. They have been through a 1,000-horsepower machine twice.
This not only gives the mulch an eye-catching look but also makes it suitable for hilly beds due to its ability to knit together. It is important to note that while the darkening effect from aging provides an attractive appearance, this type of mulch tends to decay more quickly.
It can lose its color faster than shredded hardwood bark. Additionally, improper storage may cause unattractive odors and harm plants. Be sure your mulch is stored correctly!
Leaves can be transformed into nutrient-rich mulch. This is caused by the hardworking microorganisms found in the leaves. One of the great things about leaf compost is that you can make your own.
The best way is to shred leaves and let them age naturally. Make sure nothing more natural is added as soil inhabitants like worms really aid this process.
As an additional bonus, using fully processed leaves form a barrier against weed seeds. Using leaf compost works wonderfully when used for vegetable beds or annual flower beds since these are turned annually anyways.
Ready to Use Dye-Enhanced Mulch?
As you’ve learned, dye-enhanced mulch can be a great way to improve your landscaping and create an attractive outdoor space. We’ve gone over the different types of mulch available, and what to look for when choosing your mulch.
No matter what type you choose, make sure it’s toxin free. so it won’t harm your garden. With all this knowledge at hand, now you’re ready to decide which mulch will work best for your needs! Visit Fox Landscape Supply today and discover our great products today.