Mulch is an all-star for the garden. It provides many benefits and is inexpensive and easy to use. If you are tired of fighting weeds or watering every day, use a good organic or inorganic mulch. It will take many of the headaches and chores of yard work away. Mulch can be applied at any time of the year and has attributes throughout every season.
Reasons to Use Garden Mulch
One of the easiest and fairly inexpensive things you can do to ease yard maintenance and encourage plant growth is spread mulch. Mulches are either organic or inorganic.
- Organic mulches can be straw, bark, grass clippings and other biological debris. The common bark mulch comes in many colors and lasts for several years, while using grass clippings as a mulch will only persist for part of the year.
- Inorganic mulch might be plastic sheeting, recycled tire mulch, gravel, and polypropylene fabric. These are durable materials which take a long time to break down but can also release gases and chemicals into the soil. A great deal of research should be done when using such products, especially in areas where you grow food.
Either type of mulch has a number of benefits, although taking the organic approach is by far the best option. Here are the top 5 benefits of garden mulch:
- Conserving moisture
- Keeping soil warm in winter and cooler in summer
- Controlling weeds
- Preventing erosion
- Reducing soil borne diseases
Organic mulches have the added benefit of releasing nutrients to the soil as they break down.
The type of mulch you use is strictly up to you but when applying mulch in the garden, the amount to use should be 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm.). On trees with woody stems, keep the mulch 2 inches (5 cm.) away from the trunk. For large plants, spread mulch out to the ends of the root zone. For instance, on a large tree, that could be 3 to 6 feet (.91-1.8 m.) around the trunk. To overwinter plants, spread mulch over the crown after the plant has died back, but remember to pull it away in late winter to early spring, so new plant growth can sprout unimpeded.
Mulching can save time and reduce yard chores when done properly. It can also benefit plants in several ways. So, whether you go organic or not, try mulching and reduce some of your yard work headaches.