Mulch is a soil additive used by gardeners to prevent soil erosion, retain moisture and moderate soil temperature. Mulches are available in several colors, including black. Black mulch is commonly used in outdoor planters and flowerbeds.
The most common types of black mulches are black plastic mulch and black paper mulch. Black mulch can also be made from shredded hardwood, recycled tires and bark chips.
Black plastic mulch warms the soil and is typically used for growing plants in cooler seasons. Black paper mulch is a renewable resource that is easily combined with soil.
Many gardeners find black mulch to be aesthetically appealing in the garden. The black color adds a sharp contrast when used with light-colored plants and flowers.
Gardeners living in hot climates may find that black mulch makes plants too warm. This is particularly true for fall-blooming flowers, such as mums.
The chemicals or dyes used to create black mulch occasionally leach into the ground. This can harm the surrounding flowers and plants.
Most mulching manufacturers use nontoxic vegetable dyes or charcoal to produce black mulch. Labels should specify the mulch is nontoxic to humans and animals.
- University of Florida's Co-Op Extension Service: Plasticulture Technology for Vegetable Production
- Penn State University: Mulching
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About this Author
Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for the past decade. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on websites like eHow.com and GardenGuides.com, among others. Carson holds a master’s degrees in writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in psychology.