Barkdust is also commonly referred to as bark mulch or bark chips, and it is a type of mulch. It is made from shredded or chipped tree bark and is often used in children's play areas and gardening. Bark dust has its advantages and disadvantages over other kinds of mulch.
Barkdust is produced in a couple of ways. Some companies shred or chip tree bark specifically for mulch. This type of mulch is also a byproduct of some lumberyards and similar facilities.
Although barkdust can be made from any type of tree bark, a few types of trees are usually used to make it. Douglas fir trees are commonly used, which produce a reddish brown or rust-colored mulch. Mulch made from hemlock, which is also quite common, is usually tan or light brown in color. Cedar barkdust is also popular, especially in children's play areas.
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Used in children's play areas, barkdust has a few different purposes. Aside from being more aesthetically pleasing than other forms of mulch, it provides a cushion to protect children when they fall. When used for this purpose, barkdust made form hemlock or cedar is preferred, since it does not produce as many painful splinters as bark mulch made from fir trees.
In gardening, mulch has several purposes. It helps keep the soil warm and moist, which can help developing plants thrive. It can also prevent weeds, and keep the soil from being blown or washed away. Organic mulches, like barkdust, can also add needed nutrients to the soil.
Small amounts of this mulch are usually available for sale in garden shops, nurseries, or home improvement stores. This is usually all that is needed for personal projects, such as small or medium sized gardens. Larger projects, such as public playgrounds, usually require much larger amounts, which typically need to be delivered by truck.
Aside from adding nutrients to the soil, barkdust can also alter the pH of the soil, if needed, making it more acidic. It is also much lighter than other kinds of mulch. This attribute ensures that it does not compress and compact the soil as much as other mulches.
Although some gardeners may find that their soil pH lowering, others may think of it as a disadvantage. This can cause some plants to not grow as well, or even die off. Since barkdust is lighter, it also is more likely to float away after a long, hard rain. This is especially true with larger pieces, known as bark nuggets.