Everybody’s talking about mulching these days: Types of mulch, when to mulch, colors of mulch, what rhymes with mulch. It’s late winter and we’ve all been inside too long, but the time is near, my friends, the time for mulch.
As winter wanes, the ground begins to warm. It’s only natural. Dreams of spring dance in every seedling underfoot. While mulching too early can impede the warming, it’s not too early to make a game plan. It’s already staying light later and you’ll be able to enrich your soil in just weeks.
So, what is mulch anyway? Mulch is comprised of any number of things — leaves, straw, shredded bark, sawdust, woodchips, shredded newspaper, compost, animal manure or wool, just to name a few. And that’s just organic mulch. Permanent mulches made of shredded rubber tires or crushed rock are excellent alternatives if you find all that organic stuff is too popular with insects.
The ground is frozen, there’s slushy snow puddles in the yard and blooming flowers are the last thing on your mind. We hear you. But hear this: Applying mulch now will conserve your soil’s moisture, improve the fertility and health of the soil, reduce weed growth and enhance the visual appeal of your backyard kingdom.
Too early, you say? The Phillies are about to head north.
And if you have young trees, mulch is their best friend.
- Mulch insulates the soil, helping to provide a buffer from extreme temperatures.
- Mulch retains water and keeps roots moist.
- Mulch keeps weeds out to help prevent root competition.
- Mulch prevents soil compaction.
- Mulch reduces lawn mower damage.
Now that you’re super excited to go a-mulchin’, hold your overalls a minute. A word of caution: Don’t go overboard. It’s a fine art applying that natural waste. While mulch controls and kills weeds, it can do the same to your desired plants, so go easy, fella. A 1- to 2-inch layer of fine mulch should be sufficient, while a coarser material should be 3 to 4 inches deep. Too much can suffocate your plants. Seedlings can work their way through a thin layer of mulch, but too deep a layer could be impenetrable. Let your plants get off to a good start first. You can always add more mulch next season.
Of course, in areas where you simply want to keep anything from growing — as barren as the dark side of the moon — lay it on as thick as you like, mate.
As always, the professionals at Wild Goose Landscaping are here to help this season. We’ve got mulch and we know what to do with it.