Last week we took an initial look at mulch and how the Calgary landscaping community uses it. Mulch is an essential part of landscaping in Calgary if you want your more tender plants to make through the winter in one piece. There are a lot of factors that can cause harm to your plants through the cold months, including overly dry conditions, overly cold conditions and overly variable conditions.
Since Calgary winters are so volatile, we highly recommend using mulch to help retain moisture in the soil and provide protection for roots. We have a lot of experience with the weather in this city, and know that landscaping in Calgary can be difficult unless you use all of the available resources to your advantage. At Mirage Landscaping, we are proficient at all aspects of commercial and residential landscaping.
We have already gone through types of organic mulch. Now let’s take a look at the inorganic kind.
Inorganic mulches are those that will not break down to provide nutrients to the soil. Inorganic mulches are resistant to environmental degradation and do make for superior weed barriers, but some thought needs to be put into how you use them.
The most obvious inorganic mulch is decorative rock. Rocks and stones provide several benefits as mulch. One is that they don’t break down in any time frame you need to worry about. The material comes in a variety of shapes and colours, stays where you put it and creates an inhospitable environment for weeds and animals alike. Finally, in winter, it inhibits the depths of frosts by absorbing solar radiation during the daylight hours.
There are two big caveats about using rocks or stones as your mulch material. The first is the flip side of the sunlight absorption that works in winter. On hot days, rock and stone mulch can actually raise local soil temperatures in the summer. The second drawback is that the rocks stays where you put it. If you get tired of rock based mulch, you are in for a painstaking removal job. In any areas your shovel won’t reach, you’ll be removing the stones by hand.
More advanced inorganic materials than gravel or stone are synthetics such as landscape fabric and shredded recycled rubber. Many gardeners are drawn to landscaping fabric as it provides a good moisture trap and a next to foolproof weed barrier. Though difficult to install due to the need to cut out a spot for each plant, this option is popular because it doesn’t easily break down and to be undetectable it only requires a shallow covering of a better looking mulch.
As organic mulches spread over landscaping fabric will support weed growth, consumers are turning to shredded rubber as a very durable alternative final mulch layer over fabric. Once uniformly black, shredded rubber now comes in colours that can easily pass as wood chips when viewed from a distance. Be warned that people with chemical sensitivity issues may strongly react to the smell of rubber under direct summer sunlight.
Mirage Landscaping in Calgary
For Calgary area homeowners and business clients alike, Mirage Landscaping has experience handling all types of mulch applications and can readily consult with you over not only the relative merits of each type. Just call us for a free quote.