Compost and mulch are both useful in gardening, and can be used to solve a number of landscaping issues. Many people think compost and mulch are basically the same thing, but there are a few differences worth noting. Here are some things you need to know that will help you choose the right product for the job.

Mulch is material that is spread over the soil in order to conserve water, control weeds and protect plants from extreme temperature changes. On the other hand, compost is typically added to the soil to help enrich it and provide essential nutrients.

Compost is derived from organic items such as vegetable peelings, egg shells or shredded leaves. Mulch can be made from organic materials such as wood chips or straw, or inorganic materials like shredded rubber or plastic. Some of the same materials used for mulching can also be used to make compost, with the primary difference being that particles are normally shredded very finely when added to compost, and remain much larger when used as mulch.

Compost can be used in place of mulch; however, because it contains smaller particles, it will decompose faster and need to be replaced more often. It is also less effective at keeping weeds at bay than mulch is. Plants are unable to absorb many of the nutrients from compost when it is placed on top of the soil rather than being added to it, which means your garden won’t benefit as much from using it in this manner.

Successful gardeners recommend using compost in the soil and mulch on top so that plants can reap the benefits of both materials. Here at Saunders Landscaping Supply, we deliver both mulch and compost free of charge to our customers. To find out how to get mulch delivered free in northern Virginia, contact us.