Leaf Mulch vs Wood Mulch

Leaf Mulch vs Wood Mulch: Choose the Right Mulch for Your Garden

For decades people are highly fascinated by the aesthetic. From indoors to the backyard, the touch of enormous beauty proclaims one’s taste. The idea of decorating the garden has been mostly popular which further gave rise to the concept of mulching. Mulching not only enhance the beauty of the landscape but also protects the land. The natural carpet which can effortlessly change the outlook of the garden bed became really popular. And modern mulching techniques began to emerge in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Though many new modern technologies have arrived nothing could replace the advantages of mulching whenever it comes to both embellishments and protection as well as affordability. 

What is Mulch?

Mulch is mainly an organic decompose comprised of shredded bark, dried fallen leaves, grass, wood chips, sawdust, twigs, and straws which is mainly used for landscaping projects. Living mulches include moss lawns and other ground covers. Even mulches can be made with inorganic materials like- rubber or plastic which might not be environmentally friendly. 

organic Mulch

History of the Word Mulch

Though mulching is being practiced for decades, It is believed that the word Mulch originated from the German word “molsch”, which means soft, or decaying. As mulch is prepared from organic unused materials it further decays as time passed.

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Why Do We Use Mulch?

Mulch is mainly used for gardening purposes. The benefits and main objectives are to retain water in the soil by reducing surface evaporation, enhancing fertility, improving soil productivity, proper regulation soil temperature, and suppressing unnecessary weed production. It can prevent soil erosion while applied on the slope. Moreover, it is suitable for the landscape of plants.

Leaf Mulch vs Wood Mulch

Leaf mulches are considered a blessing of Mother Nature as it is found naturally underneath shrubs and trees to mulch the ground. The dried, golden fallen leaves create an organic carpet that enhances the beauty of the garden effortlessly.

Leaf mulches
Image: Leaf Mulch

On the other hand, Wood Mulches are a combination of ground-up, shredded pieces of wood (sometimes bark and branches are included)used as a top protective layer on the soil which eventually beautifies wherever used.

Image: Wood Mulches

Pros and Cons of Using Leaf Mulch

Benefits Disadvantages
Effortlessly formed through the naturally fallen dried leaves which is the greatest advantage of it. If you have many trees, the mulched leaves may create a thick layer that may cover the lawn which will further interrupt light and air to reach the grass and soil.
Mulched leaves left on the grass create a natural fertilizer. Weather dependency; if it is the rainy season, mulching too many wet leaves can create a layer that smothers the grass and could lead to turf grass and lawn problems.
Provides water and nitrogen to the soil.  
We don’t have to worry about collecting leaves and disposing of them properly.  
Affordable option to aesthetically decorate the backyard.  

Pros and Cons of Using Wood Mulch

Benefits Disadvantages
It can help the soil to retain more of the moisture it receives from the air. Wood mulches may seem colorful during a specific season which will further seem to fade at the end of the season which may not be as pleasing to look at as before.
Wood mulch like- pine, cedar, or cypress wood chips are beneficial to repel some pests As woods are flammable there is a high chance of creating an additional fire hazard for your property.
Being strong it may also help in preventing soil erosion  If wood chips are piled up throughout a long time in an unplanned manner then it can cause some disease issues with trees and shrubs like fungal issues.
It will improve soil temperature throughout the winter for your plants as it insulates cold air to avoid cold shock to the plants. Some specific trees can cause problems if used as mulch. Like if we use Black Walnut trees as wood mulch then it will increase the acidity of the soil which may prove to be hazardous to some of the plants.
Wood chip mulch encourages earthworms to arrive if used in flower beds and gardens. You will need to take the time to regularly take what you have as wood mulch as it is heavier and nothing like the leaf mulch which will regulate naturally. Otherwise, the layer of mulch will be more dense than that of what we need.
It will give your landscape a polished and aesthetic look.  

Which Mulch is Good for Your Garden?

From the above discussion, it can be seen that though wood mulches look polished leaf mulches are aesthetic as well as super affordable to maintain. The benefits of using leaf mulches are more than that of wooded ones.

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Moreover using wood mulch sometimes leads us to the hazardous situation than the advantage it claims to provide. Rather issues like fungal infection, fire hazard, short time beautification of landscape, and increased amount of acidity could arise.

On the other hand, lightweight leaf mulch is easy to maintain and doesn’t cause harm to anyone if properly maintained. After all, the Gift of Mother Nature is nothing but a blessing. Which one will you prefer?

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