9 Advantages of Mulching with Wood Chips
You want to have a beautiful yard. However, to achieve your desired aesthetic, you’ll have to invest a lot of money and time. Between your other expenses and obligations, you might not have a lot of either to spare.
Fortunately, you can use a few strategies to overcome that tight budget and schedule. If you mulch your yard with wood chips, you won’t have to use nearly as much time and money to make your yard beautiful. Wood chip mulch can enhance any yard, even those with large trees or bushes. To learn more about this helpful landscaping strategy, read about how it can benefit your yard below.
1. It increases your yard’s visual appeal.
Compare a flowerbed full of bare soil to a flowerbed covered in wood chips. The wood chips give the bed a more finished look in the same way that wood flooring looks more finished than bare sheetrock. Wood chip mulch gives your soil a warm-colored, textured carpet, and that texture keeps the eye interested as well.
2. It reduces watering time by conserving water.
A layer of wood chip mulch decreases soil evaporation, which means that you can reduce water usage by 25-50%. You’ll save money on the water you use to hydrate your plants, and you’ll also save time. You won’t have to water your flower beds as often, nor will you have to spend as much time soaking the soil. The wood chips keep the water in the soil longer, so you don’t need to create a puddle to make sure your plants get a drink.
3. It reduces erosion.
Since water stays in the soil longer, its molecules help the soil form a muddy, clay-like texture. This keeps the soil together, which means that less of it will wash away during storms.
The wood chip layer also prevents wind and contact erosion. The moisture keeps individual particles from blowing away, but the wood chips ensure that the wind never even touches the soil. The wood also keeps shoes, sports equipment, animals, and other objects from touching the soil, which means none it sticks to these other objects.
As wood chip mulch decays, it also prevents future erosion. Its fibers hold the normal soil together, and the decaying material’s moisture makes the soil even more solid (but not so much that it suffocates your plants).
4. It reduces the number of weeds in your yard.
Weed seeds need soil to grow in. Lucky seeds may slip their way under the wood chip pile, but most seeds will dry out in the sun and die on top. Just make sure you’ve created a thick wood chip pile. If you’ve only spread a single layer of wood chips over your flower or garden beds, then the weed seeds can easily slip underneath and find the enriched soil. Apply several layers to mitigate this problem.
5. It makes weeding simpler.
Even if a few weeds slip through the wood chip layer, you’ll find them much easier to eradicate. You won’t have to rely on herbicides at all-you can simply pull them up. The moist soil will stay lose, so you won’t have to fight through dry ground to get the weed’s roots.
The weed won’t grow deep roots either. It has easy access to moisture, so it doesn’t have to. Simply grasp the weed’s stem as far down as you can reach, then slowly pull, making sure you get all the roots.
6. It adds growth-boosting nutrients to your yard’s soil.
When you use any kind of mulch, that material should enrich your soil with nutrients as it decays. Wood does this better than most other kinds of mulch. And if you get wood chip mulch made from trees in your area, you’ll see an even bigger change. These trees absorbed nutrients from local soil, and they’ll return those nutrients to yours, which means that native plants will flourish.
7. It reduces the need for fertilizer.
Since mulch adds nutrients to your soil, you won’t have to worry about fertilizer as often, if ever. Save that money for something fun instead.
8. It keeps plants from overheating in the summer.
Just as wood chip mulch prevents evaporation, it also provides shade, which means your soil will stay cooler. This means great things for your plant roots. In the summer, they won’t have to worry about baking in the heat. They’ll stay hydrated and cool, as will any creatures living in the soil, like earthworms.
9. It increases the earthworm population, leading to better soil aeration.
Wood chip mulch doesn’t just give plants nutrients. It also feeds earthworms, which will flourish in your yard. This matters because earthworms aerate the soil, helping your plants breathe. They also add other helpful nutrients to your soil. A thriving earthworm population signals a healthy yard.
To get these benefits, ask your local nursery, home improvement store, or tree trimming services if they offer wood chips. Who knows-they could give you this helpful mulching material for free.