Laying mulch over the soil may improve plant health by helping the soil retain moisture, minimize weed problems and regulate soil temperatures. Mulches are made of various materials, each with its own characteristics. Cedar mulch helps keep mosquitoes away from your yard and reduce the number of other insects.
Cedar wood has repelling effects on various types of insects. Applying cedar mulch on the ground repels insects such as mosquitoes, slugs, snails and cockroaches. Cedar wood can serve as a fumigant to get rid of fire ants in the yard. If you place cedar wood indoors where you store woolen fabrics, it will also keep clothes moths away. Another benefit of cedar over other mulches is its resistance to rot.
At your local garden center, you may find cedar mulch products that contain cedar oil and those that have been stripped of oil. Texans for Alternatives to Pesticides recommends that you choose a product that still contains cedar oil because the oil is the ingredient that keeps mosquitoes away. You may also have to choose between regular cedar mulch or twice-ground cedar mulch. The twice-ground mulch has a finer texture, but both types have the same mosquito-repelling qualities. Sprinkling cedar flakes on the ground may also help keep mosquitoes away.
Because of cedar's insect-repellent and rot-resistant qualities, people suspect that it may harm the soil and the plants, according to the University of Missouri. However, there is no proof that cedar mulch releases toxins that harm plants. In a test, ground cedar wood is immersed in water and seedlings are watered with the cedar extract. The growth of the plant treated with cedar extract shows no irregularities when compared with a control plant treated with water.
Although the material of cedar mulch discourages mosquitoes, mulch may present various problems. Uneven mulch surface may give rise to weed problems in the lower or bare areas. If you lay mulch on the part of the soil directly against a tree trunk, it may become a shelter for pests, such as insects, rodents and decay organisms. Over time, cedar mulch may also increase the pH level of the soil, which may make the soil less suitable for certain plants.