Mulch is any type of material that is spread or laid over soil as a covering. It can be placed around trees, shrubs, flowers and plants. Mulch is used to retain moisture in the soil, suppress weeds, keep the soil cool and make the garden bed look more attractive.
Types of mulch
Organic materials used for mulch include shredded bark, pine straw, compost, compost manure, newspaper or glass clippings. Over time, these materials break down and add organic matter to soil. Organic mulch helps improve the fertility of soil as it decomposes.
Inorganic materials used for mulch include stone, weed fabric, rubber or geotextile mats. These are more permanent and do not easily degrade.
How to mulch
First, pick the right mulch for your purpose. For a beautifully landscaped home garden, you may choose to use shredded bark or wood. For a cool, Asian-inspired garden, you’ll opt for stones. Spread your mulch about 2-3” thick and water after it’s applied. This keeps dry mulch from absorbing existing soil moisture and anchors lightweight mulch.
When to mulch
Your plants and shrubs will welcome mulch at any time. In cold regions, to protect overwintering plants, apply mulch after the ground freezes. To insulate soil against summer heat, apply mulch in late spring after the soil warms.
Organic mulches break down through the growing season. This happens much faster in warmer regions. Typically, you’ll have to re-apply organic mulch annually. Check mulch thickness occasionally to ensure it remains in the 2-3” range and replenish as needed.
If you need expert help to mulch your trees and garden, contact Ostvig Tree Care.