By Christina Howard
Every property manager and owner has been told that they need to mulch. However, they may not know WHY mulch is so beneficial and such a wise investment. Here are a few of the many reasons why you should invest in mulch for your property:
- Reduces water usage by retaining water in the soil, cutting water bills
- Reduces the need for weeding, which reduces landscaping cost
- Deters erosion, preventing future expenditures to replace lost topsoil
- Enriches soil, saving on fertilizer usage
- Protects soil structure and stabilizes ground temperatures so plants stay cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, leading to healthier plants
- Increases the curb appeal of your property, which will attract and retain customers and increase your property’s value
Pine Straw Mulch vs. Hardwood Mulch
In the North, hardwood mulch is the primary mulch material. In the South, however, property owners have a choice between pine straw and hardwood mulch. When making this decision, the following considerations should be taken into account:
- Pine straw has a lower cost for initial installation but most commercial properties need two applications per year for pine straw. Hardwood mulch, on the other hand, only needs one application per year. Over a three year period, hardwood mulch will result in a savings of up to 40%.
- Hardwood mulch has more staying power than pine straw. Pine straw tends to fade and disintegrate in sunlight faster than hardwood mulch and is better suited for shaded and low traffic areas. Hardwood mulch can better handle direct sunlight and is well suited for high traffic areas such as shopping centers.
Many horticulturists believe that pine straw is the better mulch to use on severe slopes. If hardwood mulch is used on severe slopes, it should be sprayed in place.