Mulching, it’s not just to make things pretty. Obviously, a pristine landscape with a nice, beautiful coat of mulch makes your flowers and shrubs look even nicer, but the best benefits of mulching your landscape beds isn’t just to improve its appearance. That’s just the added bonus!
Mulching Keeps the Weeds Down: If you don’t believe me, watch how quick weeds will sprout in a dirt field. The mulch in a landscape bed keeps the soil cooler, which in turn, will prevent some weeds from sprouting. At most times, weed seeds will germinate IN the mulch, so this makes it even easier to pull them out when they show up.
Mulching Provides Organic Matter for Your Plants: As the mulch decomposes, it provides organic compost for your shrubs, making them grow healthier, and improving the soil around them!
Mulching Helps your Plants Retain Moisture: Again, don’t believe it? Go watch how fast a plot of dry soil will crack and dry out. A 2″-3″ layer of mulch around your plants will slow evaporation of the moisture in the top few inches of soil, so your plants can drink it up.
Mulch Looks Nice: Okay, I couldn’t resist. Sure, it’s not the primary benefit from mulching, but it’s a huge one that is impossible to ignore. When properly executed, edging and mulching landscape beds provides a clear definition of where the lawn stops and the landscape begins. It deters grass from growing into your beds, and accents your house and the rest of your landscape.
Think you’re up to the task? Mulching requires some skill, but a lot of homeowners do it themselves. Some enjoy the exercise, and some enjoy the ritual of getting their hands dirty each spring. Obviously, mulching yourself is a way to save yourself some money, but if you do so, make sure to follow these simple steps. It’s what WE do when we edge and mulch a landscape.
- Remove all the Weeds & Debris: If you have spent perennials or grasses from the past season, get them out of there. Pull the weeds, rake/blow out the leaves, and the neighbor’s trash that blew under your bushes.
- Apply some Pre-Emergent Weed Control: There are a bunch of formulations of granular pre-emergent herbicides available. Applying these materials before laying mulch down, will give you about 2-3 months of help to reduce seed germination in your landscape beds. Please read the label on the material you use. Although a few, there are some plants you do NOT want to apply this around.
- Edge the Beds: Use a tool to cut a crisp line around your beds. Make sure it is about 3″-5″ deep, and makes a smooth, crisp line. If you can’t afford a power walk-behind edger, or even one of those fancy ride-on ones like we use, you can do it the old fashioned way. Get a half-moon edger or use a sharp spade shovel. Make sure to dispose of the debris and clods.
- Apply the Right Amount of Mulch: The general rule is to apply 2″-2.5″ of mulch to your beds. If you apply more than that to an existing bed, it will not break-down and decompose by the next season. This means that a crust will form, and the mulch you add each year will accumulate. We’ve seen instances where mulch was 10″ + in a landscape bed! This means little moisture gets to the plant roots, and stays in the mulch. In some instances, this can cause girdling roots around some trees and shrubs, which can kill a plant.
Some people love it. Some people hate it and still do it. And then some people call us, and get us to do it for them. Whatever your case, make sure to mulch your landscape correctly and your property will look beautiful and your plants will thank you. If you need help mulching your property, please contact us.