Garden bed mulch helps plants retain moisture below the soil surface by acting as an insulator from the sun and stifles the growth of weeds. Mulch also adds to the aesthetic beauty of your landscape, making it a generally an attractive solution. Most categories of mulch are very difficult to maintain, so they may tire you out quite easily. Contrary to what many folks believe, there are many great alternatives to this type of ground cover.
1. Recycled rubber
This type of cover is a lot better than mulch as it offers a great degree of insulation. The best part of this recycled material is that it's environmentally friendly. One of the main advantages is that water doesn’t dissolve in rubber and hence flows uninhibited into the soil, reducing water loss through retention by mulching material. One of the best parts about recycled rubber – it lasts longer than mulch!
2. Rocks and pebbles
Pebbles and rocks (essentially decorative stones) are especially handy to use in flowerbeds and vegetable gardens. These products help to add to the beauty and consistency of your landscape, especially if other elements of your outdoor living areas have rock and stone in their architecture.
3. Pecan shells
Pecan shells are hardy and very durable. Water has little effect on the acceleration of their decomposition process so you do not have to worry about replacing them too soon. The shells present multiple benefits to the plants they cover. They conserve water, embellish the plant with nutrients, suppress the sprouting of many forms of weeds, and positively manipulate soil temperatures to a moderate level. Studies have shown that pecan shells are very acidic, making them perfect for application on alkaline soils.
4. Cocoa bean hulls
This alternative is very good at moisture retention. In addition, they are very tough and hence do not decompose easily. Always make sure that they do not have chemicals since that can be hazardous to your plants.
Mixing different alternatives is always a good idea, since most materials may be available for different beds of your garden. Do some research to ensure that materials do not have components that react with each other to ensure that your landscape does not suffer any adverse effects.