The terms ‘mulch’ and compost’ are often used interchangeably and there is some confusion about what each is and the differences between the two. Many are confused about when and where to use them. In this article we’ll cover these questions and give you a better understanding about when, where, and how to use compost and mulch in your garden and flowerbeds.
What is Mulch?
Mulch can be any matter, organic or inorganic, that you put down on top of your soil. Materials used for mulch include everything from crushed rock and plastic sheeting to wood chips, discarded newspapers, pine straw, grass clippings, leaves, and straw.
Uses & Benefits of Mulch
Cautions for Mulch
Most Mulch is made from ground up wood. It is important to note that green waste Mulch can introduce pathogens or disease. Green waste mulch or mulch made from chipped up trees should also be composted. Sometimes people will take chipped green wood from a tree taken down in their yard and use the chips as mulch this practice many times introduces pathogens to new trees or other plants.
At Wild Valley Farms, our products are kiln dried so the color last longer and no pathogens. Take a look a our mulch here.
What is Compost?
Uses & Benefits of Compost
Adding compost improves soil structure. Compost is considered a soil conditioner, rather than a fertilizer, but more importantly, it can retain and make existing nutrients more readily available to plants.
Our premium organic and all natural Terra Zest is a special blend of manure, sawdust, and hydroscopic fiber (wool). We combine these products carefully to ensure your plants, lawn, trees or garden vegetables can get the full nutritional value needed for root development. Our premium Terra Zest will help your soil retain moisture and works as a slow release fertilizer that lasts all year long, unlike chemical fertilizers that only last for a few weeks, and our Terra Zest won’t burn your lawn or plants. It is safe for use around children or pets immediately after use.
It is screened to remove any debris, then carefully tested to make a uniform product for you and your customers.
Compost can be blended in with existing soil prior to planting, added to containers and spread on top.
Cautions for Compost
Manures that aren't composted usually are high in salts which can burn your plants, manures can also introduce weeds into your gardens. Dried manure is not compost!
Manures with some bedding(sawdust or straw) material but that is not turned or doesn't have the right moisture will be full of pathogens(diseases) that can harm or kill plants.
Green waste mulch or mulch made from chipped up trees should also be composted. Sometimes people will take chipped green wood from a tree taken down in their yard and use the chips as mulch this practice many times introduces pathogens to new trees or other plants.
Landfill compost can be really cheap and it is usually composted well, however landfill compost can be really dangerous to add to your garden or yard. Because there is no control of what is in the feed stock materials. If someone takes their grass clipping from their yard and have used "Weed and Feed" in the last two year that broadleaf killer will still be there and can kill your garden plants. Landfill compost many times will have heavy metals and broadleaf killer residue which is why nurseries will not sell landfill compost.
Learn more about compost in our article Are There Differences in Compost and What are They?
Also learn more from our friends at Gardeners Path