In addition to mowing and lawn care treatments, mulch can be a valuable addition to both residential and commercial landscaping for several reasons. First, adding mulch to flower beds and around trees and shrubs helps the soil to retain moisture, so that you have to water less. Mulch also acts as a barrier to weeds and helps maintain soil temperature. When using organic mulch, it improves the quality of the soil as it breaks down over time. Mulch also protects plant and tree roots from cold temperatures. Finally, mulch adds curb appeal and contrast to your landscape. For best results, follow our expert tips for choosing and installing the right mulch for your yard.
Types Of Mulch
There are many different types of organic and inorganic mulch available. Organic mulches are made from materials that were formerly living. Popular types include triple shredded hardwood mulch, pine straw, sawdust and bark mulch. Types of inorganic mulch include stone or river rocks, rubber playground mulch, black plastic sheets and landscape fabrics.
Each type of mulch has specific advantages. For example, organic mulches are great because they provide plants with nutrients as they break down. Since they do break down though, they need to be replaced regularly, while inorganic mulches tend to last much longer. Many people choose wood or rubber mulches because they come in a variety of colors. You may want to choose a color that coordinates with your house, or maybe you want a contrasting color, depending on the look you are going for. For mulch beds and areas with heavy foot traffic, rubber playground mulch is a great option.
When To Mulch
Mulch can be applied any time of year, but for maximum benefits, apply it to gardens and flower beds after spring planting. This will help retain moisture in the soil, reduce soil erosion, and prevent weed growth throughout the season. Mulching in the fall can also be beneficial, as it helps to protect plant roots from freezing temperatures.
When most of your organic mulch has decomposed into the ground, it is time to add more. Typically, organic mulch is replaced once or twice a year. For inorganic mulch, replace it when it looks worn down or faded by the elements.
How To Install Mulch
Installing mulch in your landscape is pretty simple, but a few expert tips will help you get the best results.
Decide on the amount of mulch you need. Mulch is sold by the cubic foot, so first determine the square footage (area) of the space that you are going to mulch. Multiply that number by the depth, in inches, of mulch that you want to apply (we recommend 2-4 inches). Finally, divide that number by 12 to determine how many cubic feet of mulch you will need. *Tip: a yard of mulch = 27 cubic feet.
- Create an edge around the area to be mulched using stones, bricks or other edging material.
- If there is a lot of old mulch in the area, remove it with a wheel barrow and dispose of it.
- Shovel the new mulch into small piles all around the area. Avoid dumping it into big piles, as this can result in more mulch than you want in some areas.
- Use your hands or a rake to evenly spread the mulch around the area, leaving about an inch of space around plants and tree trunks. Be careful not to smother smaller plants.
- Lightly water the area for the first day or two to avoid losing any color in the mulch.
- Mulch is a must for most gardens and landscapes. As homeowners, it saves you time and money and looks great in any yard. If you don’t want to try and tackle mulch installation yourself, there are no doubt several mulch delivery and mulch installation services near you.