It’s time to think about mulching those trees and flower beds, now that the harsh colds of Winter have abated. Applied correctly and liberally, it’s good for your plants as well as a great labor saver. For starters, it will slow weed growth considerably. That alone is a reason to mulch. No one wants to spend all Spring and Summer hunched over their flower beds! Mulch also reduces water evaporation and can improve soil quality, two benefits that will yield long term results in your garden.
However, not all mulch is created equal. Depending on which type you decide to use, you could reap different benefits. In general, mulch with larger pieces of bark will decompose more slowly. Finer pine bark mulch will enrich the soil as it decomposes. Its main function aside from weed reduction is offering insulation to the root sources when there are fluctuations in temperature. It also reduces water loss from the soil when you water or run a sprinkler. However poor choices in mulch quality, could mean that it can retain TOO much moisture and encourage slugs and other pests that may eat certain plants. It can also run the risk of becoming moldy. An expert from Sunrise Landscape and Design can help you decipher which mulch is best suited for which area of your lawn.
Cosmetically, mulch can add visual interest to your yard, depending on the color and size you choose. Colored mulch contains vegetable dye, its color lasting for a year or more. They are also finer in texture which makes them ideal for areas with slope since they mat down nicely. Other types of mulch include pine straw which are pine tree needles and are a great mulch for certain more natural or wooded areas of your yard.
When applying mulch to stop weed growth, make sure you pull the weeds that are already growing in the soil. It will not stop weeds completely, but it will curtail their proliferation. Mulch should be distributed one to three inches deep and be free of clumps. It’s time to replenish when soil is visually apparent or annually as necessary.
One very important thing to remember when mulching trees: remove excess mulch! Do not pile it up against the trunk! This can actually rot the trunk and cause problems for the health of the tree. No mulch volcanoes! See our blog on Mulch Volcanoes.
Another option for ground covering is inorganic mulch. Examples of this are stone, pebbles and gravel. The obvious downside to inorganic mulch is that it does not break down, as organic mulch does, so it may require you to completely remove and replace when it begins to look tired and weather-worn. Inorganic mulch also prevents nutrients from reaching the soil and retains heat, making water evaporate quicker. While it may not be an issue in the area you choose to cover, it is an important consideration if you’re laying it near plants and flowers.
For more information on mulch, see our blog on The Right Mulch for Your Landscape.
Now is the time to get those trees and flower beds ready for Spring blooms. There may still be one or two more cold snaps ahead, but once Spring decides its ready for us, you will want to be ready to welcome it. Contact the professionals at Sunrise Landscape and Design. We’d be happy to prepare your yard for Spring and keep it looking beautiful throughout the seasons!
Sunrise Landscape and Design is Northern Virginia’s premier landscape company offering a full range of landscape services. Our landscape and design services include hardscapes, water features, irrigation and landscape lighting. Our landscape maintenance services will keep your landscape vibrant and healthy year round with mulching, edging, garden cleanups, lawn mowing, tree pruning and mosquito/deer control. Contact us today for all your landscape and lawn care needs!