Eucalyptus Mulch, A Landscaper's Dream?
Eucalyptus mulch may or may not be the best mulch one can buy, but it is certainly a very good one. It can be thought of as being a landscaper's dream in the sense that, besides its excellent qualities as mulch, it is one of the few types of mulch available where one has a choice of colors. In landscaping a yard or garden, it's possible to get quite a different look from a red, or rose colored mulch than one could get from a brown or black mulch.
Why Florida? - While anyone could put eucalyptus mulch to good use, most of the places you will find it in use are in Florida, principally southern Florida. There are two reasons for this. First, Florida is one of the few places eucalyptus is grown in the United States; in fact it is grown on eucalyptus plantations. Second, there is only one established eucalyptus mulch manufacturer in this country, and the plant is located in Florida, Ft. Myers to be exact. The main, and perhaps only, disadvantage in eucalyptus mulch is its limited availability. There just isn't enough of it to go around.
The principal purpose behind mulching is to retain moisture in the soil, and at the same time inhibit the growth of weeds. There are many different kinds of mulches available, both organic, like pine chips, grass clippings, and eucalyptus chips or shreds, and inorganic, like plastic or rubber sheeting. Some mulch, such as shredded yard waste, are essentially free, others like landscaping cloth, can be pricey. The three primary considerations in choosing a mulch, would normally be performance, attractiveness, and cost.
A Replacement For Cypress - Eucalyptus mulch is very popular in Florida and it's not just because it's a good mulch. The mulch of choice in that part of the country has for a long time been cypress mulch. What has happened however is the use of cypress for mulch and other reasons has resulted in harvesting cypress faster than it can replenish itself. This is posing a danger to the ecosystems in Florida's wetlands, and efforts are now being made to limit the harvesting of cypress trees. Insofar as mulch is concerned, there turns out to be 3 very good alternatives to cypress, in addition to standard wood chip or bark mulches. One alternative is the recycling of wooden pallets, where the nails and staples and any other foreign materials are removed, and the boards are shredded. A second alternative is the wood and bark from melaleuca, an invasive tree which has become a genuine nuisance, but just happens to make a very fine mulch. The third alternative is eucalyptus mulch.
Benefits Of Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus mulch may be one of the few types of mulch that is pleasantly aromatic and the natural oils in the wood resists insects. The mulch is used not only to foster plant growth but also as is an effective insect barrier in lawns and parks, and around horse stalls, dog houses, and animal quarter in general. The mulch has a somewhat blond color but soon after spreading, turns into a deep shade of red. Eucalyptus mulch chips are also dyed in various colors, including red, pink, gold, and brown, making it perhaps the only "designer" mulch on the market. Since the trees used in mulch production are rapid growers, and grown on plantations, the eucalyptus is a renewable resource. While all of this may make the mulch sound expensive, and its relative scarcity may contribute to that, any added cost is offset to a great extent by the fact that eucalyptus mulch is very long lasting, and will not need to be replenished annually as is the case with many organic mulches.
Eucalyptus mulch may be very difficult to find in many places in the United States, but if a bag or two of colored chips is available, they'd be fun to work with in a small area.