Here are five ways mulch benefits your garden. Using mulch also benefits you, the homeowner, because it can be a great time-saving measure. When done right, it could mean spending less time watering, pulling weeds and managing garden pests. Commercial property owners will also benefit from using mulch in their landscaping for the same reasons homeowners will.
Adding mulch to your garden can seem like such a simple step, but it reaps big benefits for your landscape and you. Here are five reasons why you should add mulch to your garden.
Regulates Soil Temperature
One way mulch benefits your garden is by regulating soil temperature. Adding a layer of mulch to your flower beds can keep the soil cool in summer and warmer in winter. Most people add a layer of mulch in the spring, after they’ve completed their spring planting. But mulch can be added in the fall to protect perennials wintering over while keeping the soil warm for late blooming flowers.
Whether you’re laying down mulch in the spring or fall, there is a sweet spot regarding when to do it. If you’re laying mulch in spring, it needs to be done toward the middle or end of the spring season. If you mulch too early in spring, you’ll lock in the cold moisture. This could slow down the timely growth of your plants and flowers.
Be careful not to mulch too early in the fall if you have perennials that need to be cut back; you may not find them. You also don’t want to wait too long because the plants will get caught in the freeze-thaw cycle and possibly become damaged. Ideally, you’ll put down your mulch after the first hard frost so shrubs and perennials can go into dormancy.
One of the biggest threats to plants, flowers and trees is drought. A hot day can start to draw water out of the soil and even a windy day can dry it out. Mulch helps prevent evaporation and retain moisture.
Wood chips also help water absorption in your plants. A fresh layer slows storm water run-off and slows evaporation in the soil. When the soil in your garden is sufficiently hydrated, you won’t need to water your plants as much.
Adding mulch to your landscape in fall can hold moisture in the soil over the winter, adding to the water table. If it’s a dry winter with little rain or snowfall, the mulch will help hold whatever moisture is in the soil come spring.
Another way mulch benefits your garden is through weed control. Just like every other animate object, weeds need nutrients, sunlight and water to survive and thrive. When they’re in your garden, they’re stealing those from your flowers and vegetables. Cut off their supply and you’ll cut down on the number of weeds you have.
Mulch won’t prevent every weed from popping up between the tomatoes or gladioli, but it sure will reduce how much does. And this will make your life a little easier, as you’ll be spending less time weeding and more time enjoying what you’ve planted.
Enriches the Soil
If you don’t have rich, fertile soil, you’re not going to have success at growing the flower, vegetables and plants you want. Think of soil as the foundation of your garden. If it’s depleted from nutrients, your plants won’t thrive. Adding a layer of organic mulch to your soil can enrich it.
A plant-based mulch can improve the fertility of your garden’s soil. When it decomposes, it adds organic matter to your soil, while feeding both the visible and invisible organisms that keep your garden healthy: earthworms and microorganisms.
Adds Curb Appeal
Perhaps the best way mulch benefits your garden is by upping the curb appeal of your home. This can be especially important if you want to put it on the market. Adding dark mulch in your flower bed can really make their colors pop. A colored mulch around a tree trunk can bring some color to the surrounding lawn.
Mulch gives your garden a polished look. After you’ve planted the flowers, pulled the weeds and trimmed the edging, a layer of mulch will give the flower bed a finished look. Think of it as adding a piece of jewelry or tie tack to accessorize your outfit.
Now that you know five ways mulch benefits your garden, you probably are wondering how much to lay down and what kind?
How Much Mulch?
If you already have this protective covering on your beds and just need a fresh layer, then less will do. But a new landscaping project will require more to get great color, help with drainage, root insulation and protect against erosion.
Too much mulch can also be a problem, as it can keep important nutrients from the plant roots. Our landscaping experts at J & S Landscaping can offer a recommendation based on your particular lawn and our particular climate.
When adding a layer of mulch to your plant bed, optimal thickness usually falls around two to three inches. You can find a mulch calculator here. Regardless how much or how little you lay down, be sure to take this final step. Give the mulch plenty of water. This will anchor down the first layer and hydrate your new landscape commodity.
What Kind of Mulch?
What kind of wood chips you use in your garden landscaping is largely a personal choice. Some homeowners make their choice based on properties like texture and ability to preserve moisture. Others like being able to choose a particular color. J & S Landscaping has several choices in a variety of colors. We also offer aromatic cedar and double-shredded hardwood mulches.
Why Mulch from J & S Landscaping
It isn’t a good idea to buy bags of wood chips. Often, it is prematurely decomposed and contains fungi or mold. Sometimes, this mulch is ground up scraps from the construction industry or wood shipping pallets. Our semi-trucks arrive weekly to bring you the freshest wood chips direct from Canada and Northern Michigan.
Call us any time, any day, at 1-866-MULCH-2-U today to get your fresh mulch!