Mulch looks great, but there are other important reasons to add it to your property. Why should you mulch? Mulching helps:
- regulate soil temperatures. It creates a barrier protecting soil from cold winter air, insulating and protecting it and the plants it contains until spring.
- curtail weed growth. Mulch prevents sunlight from reaching seeds. It also keeps them from reaching the soil beneath, which is required for most seed’s germination.
- slow evaporation. It prevents dry air from pulling the moisture out of your soil and plants.
- reduce soil erosion. Protecting your soil’s surface from wind and rain will minimize the impact of both falling rain water and blowing winds.
- improve soil nutrition. Decomposing organic material in mulch will provide nutrients to aid growing plants.
I’ve been using wood chips for years and it works well.
It’s hard to find fault with traditional wood chip mulch. It works pretty darn well and it’s dirt (er… mulch) cheap. In fact, many cities give it away for free. For these reason, it’s great for large areas.
That said, you might want to avoid some wood mulch types. Dyed mulches (red is the most popular) are often made from recycled materials like pallets or construction waste. These wood chips are dyed to make product appear more uniform. It sounds great in principle, recycling old wood. Unfortunately this material sometimes contains toxic chemicals. For example, recycled lumber often contains the poison arsenic, a known carcinogen. I wouldn’t spread that around my home!
Have you ever seen buckwheat hull mulch?
I’m going to guess the answer is, “no.” Most big box landscaping supply stores don’t carry buckwheat hull mulch. It’s a specialty item that’s suited for use in smaller garden plots, individual planters or for potting soil mixes.
Buckwheat hulls are much more resistant to absorbing valuable water than wood mulch.
They’re (mostly) non-absorbent. This characteristic allows much more water to penetrate the mulch down into to the soil. The hulls then shield the soil below from the elements, helping it retain that moisture. Their resistance to water absorption also helps them last longer than wood mulch.
Buckwheat hull mulch should be applied in a layer no more than 1 ½ inches thick. That’s all that’s necessary for it to be effective. Just like other mulch types, too much will reduce the underlying soil’s oxygen levels.
Moisture sensitive plants such as roses, vegetables and perennials benefit from a buckwheat hull and potting soil mixture.
You can’t mix wood mulch and potting soil because it can cause a nitrogen deficiency. Buckwheat hulls offer a soil mixture nutrients and aeration without this issue.
They are susceptible to wind erosion.
Buckwheat hulls are lightweight and can be caught in the wind if it’s out in the open. Be aware that your nicely manicured landscape could quickly become less than impressive on a windy day. Keep your buckwheat hulls confined to areas where the wind can’t catch them.
Many buckwheat hulls (including the ones we sell on this website) are vacuum cleaned to remove non-hull material like dust and dirt.
That’s because many buckwheat hulls are used as pillow filling. A little excess debris doesn’t seem like it’d be an issue for mulching circumstances. However, it turns out that uncleaned hulls can potentially result in buckwheat plants sprouting from the mulch.
I learned the benefits of buckwheat hull mulch when I replaced my first buckwheat pillow’s filling.
I’d never tried buckwheat hull mulch, but I had about 10 lbs leftover after my pillow’s refill It worked great, so every time someone in our house replaces their pillow, we reuse the filling outside in our garden.
If you’ve got an older buckwheat pillow or two that could use new filling, you can feel good about replacing it.
While an old memory foam or polyester pillow will lie in a landfill Your used hulls will get a second life. Buckwheat hull mulch will provide your landscape with beautiful texture and give nutrients and protection to its soil. Buckwheat hulls are compostable. They’ll never pile up in a landfill like memory foam or polyester.