Mulching is putting a layer of material on the surface of the soil around plants. Organic mulch, such as bark, adds nutrients, retains moisture, reduces runoff, reduces soil erosion, and prevents weeds. Inorganic mulch, such as stone, can be used as well, but it does not add nutrients back into the soil and does not improve soil quality. Because inorganic mulch does not break down, it does not require as much upkeep as the organic kind.
Mulching makes your yard look great and it is not hard to do. Up keeping organic mulch may take some time at the beginning of the season, but you should be well rewarded for your efforts. Your plants, trees, and bushes will greatly benefit from the nutrients you are adding back in.
Mulch is a great protector of plant roots in the winter and helps to prevent frost-heaving; in which plants are literally pushed out of the ground by the natural expansion and contraction of the soil as it cools off and heats up. Mulch will also keep the roots of plants cool during the heat of the summer.
A good depth for mulch is 2-4″ inches. Make sure to keep the mulch itself from touching the trunks of trees or the bases of shrubs. If the mulch sits against them, rotting can occur because of too much moisture retention. Another problem with too much mulch around a young plant is that small rodents can nest there, feeding on the tender bark and harming the tree or bush.
When you apply the mulch, spread it out to at least the plant’s drip line. The drip line is the diameter of the plants outermost branches. You can spread the mulch out even further if you want because it will protect the plants roots. The roots often extend further than the branches do.
Every year, check the depth of the mulch before adding more. It might not be necessary to add more. If it’s not, but you would like to refresh the look of your mulch, just try raking it to break up any clumps and improve its appearance.
Done right, mulching improves both the quality and appearance of your lawn.