Why Mulch Matters

There is more to mulch than meets the eye. It makes our gardens more attractive, helps reduce weeds, conserves moisture, and slowly adds nutrients back to the soil. One of our suppliers carries 16 different kinds in bulk, and that doesn't even include pine straw or rubber mulches. Our most commonly used mulch is un-dyed Midi Hardwood Mulch - an economical, all-natural, and long-lasting mulch suitable for any setting. Read on to see why we love it.

Why don't we like to use dyed mulch?

There are three main reasons we don't like dyed mulch: appearance, quality, and environmental risk. We believe that the natural rich dark brown of our composted hardwood mulch is more attractive because the color doesn't look artificial, and it doesn't compete with the landscape itself. Hardwood mulch does fade, but with mid-season cultivating you can have it looking almost as good as new. There are companies that make high quality and eco-friendly dyed mulches, but if you go for the cheapest dyed bag at the hardware store, there is no telling what you're getting. Instead of hardwood bark composted to maximize benefits to the soil and plants, you could have raw wood chips and even shredded pallet wood. This un-decomposed mulch actually sucks nutrients out of the soil before it enriches the soil, and it doesn't break down as quickly as our mulch so over the years it can pile up to depths that smother plants (for this same reason we don't recommend using raw wood chips as mulch, even it is un-dyed and chemical free). The third reason we prefer un-dyed mulch is that some low-quality dyed mulches use dyes and fixatives that can hurt plants. If you do choose to use dyed mulch, make sure it has been composted and that it only uses environmentally friendly dyes so that you aren't compromising the health of your landscape to get the look you want.

What does "Midi" mean?

It is just the term our supplier uses to describe how finely textured the mulch is - in this case it is a medium texture. Different companies might call the textures coarse or fine, or double or triple ground, or any number of other names. We choose Midi because it is less expensive than finer ground mulch, and because it lasts longer. The finer mulches tend to wash away more and decompose faster. And while we do want mulch to eventually decompose and enrich our soil, we like to get a full season of good coverage so your garden doesn't start to look ragged before winter.

If this mulch is so awesome, why does it cost less than other high quality mulch?

In many of the purchasing decisions we make, we use price as an indicator of quality. And that principle applies to mulch, but only to an extent. You can find low-quality mulches full of minimally composted trash wood that are dyed (sometimes with cheap and harmful chemicals) to look more attractive. These mulches will cost less than what we use. But once you move up to professional grade mulch, price is simply an indicator of how much work went into that mulch. Finer textured mulch costs more because it has to be more finely shredded, and that means more work. Quality dyed mulches cost more because of the added cost of the environmentally friendly dyes. And of course, we are willing to provide these other mulches for customers who request them, because after all it is your garden. But don't let the price fool you. We don't pick the cheapest professional grade mulch because we're trying to cut corners; we simply believe it delivers the best value and appearance for its cost.

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