Applying mulch to plant beds is key to maintaining healthy, attractive landscaping. Below are some specific benefits of properly applied mulch:
- Mulch helps retain moisture, which leads to healthier plant stock.
- A layer of mulch around plantings reduces weed growth.
- Mulch adds nutrients to the soil due to its natural decay.
- A well-mulched bed prevents plant stock from getting hit or damaged from lawn equipment; for that reason, creating tree rings around trees is suggested.
- In addition to the above, mulch adds beauty and uniformity to landscaping at a minimal cost.
Some Do’s And Don’ts Of Mulching:
- When mulching trees, mulch surrounding the trunk should look like a donut-a uniform circle.
- Keep the mulch to a thickness of 1-2” around the base of trees, shrubs and perennials to prevent decay of the bark layer causing poor growth. Overall, keep mulch at a maximum thickness of 4”– any more will restrict the access of oxygen to the soil and plant roots.
- Try to have an edge for the mulch to sit along to prevent it from migrating out into the lawn.
- If re-mulching beds, it may be necessary to remove some of the old mulch to allow for proper depth when installing fresh mulch in plant bed areas.
- Avoid excessive build up of mulch around base of trees and shrubs. (Volcano effect)
- Using chipped wood from a local municipality is not recommended for typical decorative plant beds. Using these chips may bring in viral infections that a tree had when removed and chipped; in addition, unwanted growth of saplings will also occur.
- Do not use mulch over landscape fabric in the hope of improving the soil. When the mulch decomposes it cannot enter the soil if there is a fabric barrier between it and the soil. Mulch will also break down creating allowing weeds to germinate above landscape fabric.