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Make Mulch

Enrich Garden Soil Naturally

GB_1014_NaturalMulchHomeowners with gardens have many natural, organic and sustainable options for mulching, which enriches soils with nutrients, helps retain moisture and controls weeds. In most regions, many types of trees can provide ingredients. In northern areas, ridding the yard of fall leaves yields a natural mulch.

Apply ground-up leaves, especially from mineral-rich oak and hickory trees, so they biodegrade by growing season. OrganicLandCare.net suggests choosing from double-ground and composted brush and yard trimmings; hemlock, pine, fir and Canadian cedar; and recycled ground wood.

Using a lawnmower with a high blade height or switching to a serrated-edged mulching blade can chop leaves into tiny fragments caught in an attached bag. The National Turfgrass Federation notes, “A regular mower may not shred and recirculate leaves as well as a mulching blade.” Shredded leaves also can filter through grass and stifle springtime dandelions and crabgrass, according to Michigan State University research studies.

Ground-up parts of many other plants can also provide natural mulch in their native regions. AudubonMagazine.org cites cottonseed hulls and peanut shells in the Deep South, cranberry vines on Cape Cod and in Wisconsin bogs, Midwest corncobs and pecan shells in South Carolina.

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