The Science and Happiness of Mulching

Choosing the right mulch is essential to giving your plants the best possible conditions. Mulch improves plant growth, conserves moisture, reduces weed growth and moderates fluctuating temperatures. The contribution of mulch undoubtedly assists in the generation and balancing of an ideal micro-ecosystem for your landscape.

Fork It On!

pitchfork with mulch

Mulching is a Science, it turns out…

Who thought that gardeners would be reading graphs and performing tests with beakers & litmus paper? We did! We also piggy-backed on some research done by Fine Gardening and also by the University of Washington; thanks goes to them for the test results!

First let’s take a look at the Growth Graph of 5 different shrubs when planted in mulched vs unmulched. The shrubs studied were Arborvitae, Yew, Cranberrybush Viburnum, Hydrangea and Arrowwood Viburnum. Every mulch that was tested yielded similar enough results that they fell under the expected variance (or in other words, yielded no significant difference); save one. Cyprus mulch did not affect growth in any substantial way, but did offer weed suppression much like the other varieties of mulch tested. Without further adieu, here is the first graph we’ll take a look at.


Notice the range of difference between the mulched vs unmulched plants. While it varies from about 10cm to nearly 100cm, every shrub tested experienced improved growth and overall health when properly mulched. This alone implies significant value in mulching your landscapes. But, there’s more!

Other Benefits of Mulch from the Same Study:

Test Completed
No Mulch

Soil Moisture Retention @ 2″ depth, 2 hours after watering

Soil Nutrient Retention & Availability in Root Zone

Weed Control
76% Reduction

Time Spent Weeding 25 Shrubs Over a 3mo Period
Approx 19hrs
Approx 4hrs 45mins

The Results are Clear!

Mulching has a positive effect on ever aspect of your landscape. Another study conducted at the University of Washington in Seattle goes on to show that Nutrient Retention in Soil directly contributes to overall health of your plants and “…the surrounding landscape”! This means that healthy, happy plants make other plants HEALTHIER! We find it fascinating that there are levels of communication going on all around us, communication we can’t see or hear. And, we love that when your plants are happy and healthy they contribute to the overall happiness and health of your entire landscape. Keep that in mind the next time you’re out in the garden, it just might put a huge grin on your face!

Our Recommendations For Mulch:

  • Pine
  • Recycled Pallet
  • Cyprus
  • Hardwoods

Liked this Article?

Please Share with Your Friends!

Keep Reading: