Cedar mulch is one of the organic mulches that has many advantages to crops besides maintaining a level moisture content in the soil. Cedar mulch is produced from the bark of an evergreen tree called cedar. It is also produced from by-products such as remaining pieces of roofs and shingles. These are ground to a desired size and may be dyed for a uniform color.Most mulching material from this tree is chipped or shredded. Shredded cedar has a fine texture and is fit for small perennial and annual plants.
Benefits to the Garden
Cedar chip is heavy and dense in nature, mostly used for large plants, trees and bushes. It is one of the most expensive mulching materials. Cedar mulch is spread in thick layers to prevent weeds from accessing sunlight. This maintains the health of the plants by eliminating competition for nutrients with weeds. The advantage of this kind of mulch is that it allows application of fertilizer even after it has been spread.
Cedar mulch also emits a strong scent that is pleasant to people. The scent also repels pests and insects. As a result, crops with a cedar mulch are not prone to pests like earwigs and aphids. The mulch has a light color, and is therefore able to sustain a constant temperature in the soil. This is especially with the shredded cedar that is light red in color. During summer, it will reflect away light from the sun that could heat the soil and raise the temperature. In winter, it will protect the ground against thawing.
Benefits to the Soil
Shredded cedar mulch is very durable. As it weathers,it will mesh to form a solid mat that will stand severe weather conditions. This mat will not allow penetration of sunlight, and similarly weeds will not thrive. Chip cedar mulch however will allow penetration of light through to the soil but all weeds thriving underneath will suffocate.
The two types of cedar mulch both decompose at a fast rate. Nutrients are therefore released faster and in plenty to replenish and enrich the soil. As it decomposes, the mulch may need replacement,which too reduces the incidences of disease occurrence.
Cedar is one of the safest mulches both to the soil and to the crops. This is because it is not treated with any chemical, hence when it decomposes, there will be no poisons leaching to the plants and soil. additionally, shredded mulch is soft, a reason why it can be used under playgrounds because it won’t cause injury to playing children.
Benefits in Landscaping
One of the special uses of cedar mulch is in landscaping. It is used in perennial flower beds to protect plants during winter. The mulch keeps the ground warm and protects against frost heaves that may destroy plant roots. In such weather, it is applied after two days of freezing, and the normal thickness of 2.5 inches is doubled so that it sustains the plants through the freezing conditions.
The Drawbacks of Cedar Mulch
Cedar mulch however has some pitfalls such as using plant nitrogen when it decomposes. Shredded red cedar can also cause fire incidences during dry conditions but this can be avoided by moistening the beds covered by these type of mulch. Practically, the merits of this mulch outweigh its pitfalls, letting it stand out as one of the best organic mulches.