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Is Mulch Bad for the Environment? (What You Should Know)

Is Mulch Bad for the Environment? (What You Should Know)

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Mulching is a great way to improve your lawn’s health and make it look better. However, you may wonder, is mulch bad for the environment?

The effect of mulch on the environment depends on how it’s sourced. Commercial mulch isn’t produced sustainably and results in the destruction of thousands of acres of plant life.

On the other hand, using a mulching mower to produce grass-clippings mulch is harmless to the environment.

Read on to learn more about the effect of mulch on the environment and why people use mulch in the first place.

An Overview of Mulch

Mulch is a layer of organic or inorganic material used to cover the soil’s surface on your lawn.

Organic mulch is typically made from dead plant material, such as wood chips, pine needles, chopped leaves, or grass clippings.

On the other hand, inorganic mulch consists of synthetic materials like geotextiles or black plastic.

You can either buy ready-made mulch from a garden supplies store or you can make your own using a mulching mower or other methods.

Why Mulch Can Be Bad for the Environment

Using mulch can harm the environment in some cases. If you buy commercial ready-made mulch, this isn’t an environmentally-friendly decision. Companies that mass produce mulch damage huge amounts of plants to do so.

According to a study conducted by the University of Florida, over 120,000 acres of cypress trees are shredded to produce mulch annually. The result is losing 3 million cubic feet of cypress every year. However, this doesn’t mean that all mulch harms the environment.

Sustainable Mulching Techniques

You can still reap the benefits of mulching your lawn without being environmentally irresponsible.

Go for sustainable mulching techniques, such as using grass clippings produced by a mulching mower. These mowers have blades that cut your grass multiple times to produce small clippings ideal for mulch and discharging them back onto your lawn.

If you don’t have a mulching mower, install a mulching kit on your existing mower.

That being said, note that excessive mulching can damage your plants by suffocating them and subjecting them to too much heat.

Additionally, using too much mulch gives pests a place to hide. If left unattended, these critters can spread and wreak havoc on your lawn.

Should I Use Dyed Mulch?

Dyed mulch is another material you should avoid. This is because dyed mulch is treated with chromium and copper to make it last longer. It also contains aluminum, arsenic, lead, and formaldehyde.

All of these contaminants are toxic and may be released into the soil as the mulch decomposes.

It’s safe to say that having a mulch that matches your lawn’s color perfectly isn’t worth releasing toxic materials into your soil.

Why Do People Use Mulch?

You may wonder why people use mulch in the first place. The answer lies in the benefits that mulching brings to the table.

Here are some of them:

It Gives You a Healthier Lawn

People with a backyard know very well how satisfying it is to have a neat and healthy lawn. Mulching allows you to achieve this objective for several reasons.

First off, organic mulch mixes with the soil and nourishes it. In turn, it fertilizes the grass, making it more likely to get sufficient nutrition.

When your grass is well nourished it becomes healthier and less likely to fall victim to pests and diseases.

Additionally, mulch fills in any gaps in your lawn and improves its aesthetic appeal.

It Preserves Your Soil’s Moisture

Another key benefit of mulch for your lawn is moisture retention.

When the soil is covered with mulch, moisture evaporates from it at a slower rate. As a result, your soil is less likely to dry up during the hotter months of the year.

Further, mulch helps preserve your soil’s health in the winter. The layer of organic or inorganic material over the soil reduces its exposure to frost.

It Saves You Money

Due to the nutrients it infuses into the soil, using mulch means that you don’t need to buy fertilizer as often.

Since fertilizer doesn’t come cheap, mulching can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Final Thoughts

If there are a lot of bare soil spots on your lawn, you may consider using mulch to cover them and make your lawn look better. You may also ask if much is bad for the environment.

As long as you avoid buying ready-made mulch from large companies, mulching won’t harm the environment in any way. We recommend getting a mulching mower and producing your own much as you mow your lawn.

By doing so, you’ll reap the aesthetic and nutritional benefits of mulching your lawn without contributing to destroying plant life.


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