Mulch is a dynamic tool homeowners can use to enhance their landscape. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about adding it yourself.
Mulch is one of the most popular finishes people enjoy adding to their landscape. Understanding the benefits and requirements of mulch is key if you plan on embarking on this DIY project. Here are a few things to consider before getting started:
What does Mulch do?
Homeowners use mulch for a variety of purposes. Yes, mulch gives your garden a polished look and makes your yard look more complete. Its practical functions are just as important, though. Compost helps plants grow stronger by insulating seeds from extreme weather changes while simultaneously contributing essential organic nutrients.
Mulch also facilitates enhanced 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.
One of the best parts of this landscaping tool is how dynamic it is. Whether you want to trap heat in the soil before summer tapers off or your plants need to remain cool as the summer is on its way, mulch can help you.
Finally, Mulch adds a polished tone to your landscape. Today, there is a wide variety of mulches you can choose from so you can find the perfect match.
Types of Mulch
There are two categories to choose from when deciding what to add to your plant bed: organic or inorganic.
Organic Mulches include materials such as shredded bark, pine straw, compost or grass clippings. These types add more vitality to your plants by adding organic matter to soil and improving it. The major drawback of organic mulch, however, is they ware down over time and require annual replacement.
Inorganic Mulches, on the other hand, don’t degrade over time. They will help protect your soil from the elements, but do not add as much value to the soil itself. These can include stone, weed, fabric, rubber or geotextile mats.
Deciding between a category is a matter of preference. Is healthy soil important to you? Are you interested in replacing your mulch layer once a year? These are important things to consider when weighing the options for your landscape.
How and When to apply Mulch
When adding a layer of mulch to your plant bed, optimal thickness usually falls around two to three inches. If you have soil that drains fast you would lean towards installing the mulch to the thicker depth. If your soil is slow to drain you can lean towards the thinner application. Thickness really depends on how much insulation you need for your specific plants.
Make sure the compost stretches slightly beyond the drip line of your plants. The drip line the farthest out a plant stretches, or the leaf that is furthers from the stem horizontally. This is the area where your new mulch layer will be most productive.
One final step is to water the mulch after adding it. This will anchor down the first layer and hydrate your new landscape commodity.
Mulch can either warm or cool the soil temperature during the growing season, so you can apply it year-round. It’s important, however, to keep an eye on your mulch and to replenish it as necessary. This is especially true for organic mulches, which experience their greatest decomposition during the growing seasons.
Now that you’re armed with knowledge about this cornerstone landscaping tool, you’re ready to purchase your own and get to work. Here at J&S Landscape, we have semi-trucks arrive weekly to bring you the freshest wood chips direct from Canada and Northern Michigan at rock bottom prices.
For all your landscaping needs, J&S is here to help. Give a call anytime for more information!