Applying Mulch – A Cut Above
Not only does applying mulch result in a more attractive flowerbed, it also has many other benefits. When you mulch your flowerbeds, you’re helping with weed control, moisture management, soil insulation, soil improvement, and appearance.
An un-mulched flowerbed is very susceptible to weeds. By adding a layer of mulch, you’re preventing sunlight from reaching the weeds, which keeps them from growing. Although this helps with weeds, it won’t completely get rid of them. Your best bet for completely getting rid of weeds is to first pull them, then use a weed barrier, such as old newspapers, under the mulch. This also prevents the moisture in the soil from evaporating. 10-25% of moisture is lost due to evaporation however, enough mulch on the soil can reduce evaporation and the need for daily watering, making caring for your plants much easier.
Mulch also acts as an insulator, lowering the soil temperatures in hot weather and protecting the roots from the cold weather. Heavy rain can compact soil. But with a layer of mulch on top, this compaction is greatly decreased, leaving the soil better aerated.
When choosing mulch, there’s really no “right” answer. It all depends on the climate of the area you live in, what part of the yard you’re using it in, and what you prefer. It’s important to look into whatever mulch you choose to make sure it’s a good fit for you. If you live in an area like Northern Virginia, you know that the weather is always something different. This may make it hard to choose mulch that will hold up to the climate. In this situation, you’ll want to apply winter mulch in the late fall to keep the soil insulated, and summer or growing mulch in the spring to retain soil moisture and prevent weed growth.
Mulch keeps gardens looking beautiful and the plants happy and healthy. That’s why we make it a staple of our Landscape Maintenance Programs.