You have all heard that mulching your plant beds is aesthetically pleasing, promotes moisture for your plants and reduces weeds, but did you know it does so much more? Mulch in your beds keeps the soil cool in the summer and warm in the winter, reduces stress in shallow-rooted plants, encourages beneficial organisms and provides nutrients to the soil for your plants. The healthiest plants have a good supply of nutrients and water which mulch plays a big part in supplying.
Choosing the best mulch for your needs may be a tough decision. Watch out for the dark mulches that contain a lot of dyes and are usually made from ground up wood pallets. These usually contain no bark and provide no nutrients to your soil and often pull nutrients from your soil while they break down. Compost may not be the best mulch for your beds either. They are often made from leaf compost, sometimes mushroom compost and may include material from sewage plants. Always check what is inn the compost before you put it down.
We recommend pine finds, cocoa mulch or triple shredded pine bark mulch. These mulches provide nutrients to your soil and plants as they break down. Pine finds also do not splash back against your house when it rains. We recommend mulching only 2 inches and never more than 3 inches around most plants and trees. Oxygen to the roots may be compromised if a thicker layer is applies. Most importantly is to leave room of 1-2 inches around the base or stem of your plant so they are not smothered.
Cultivating old mulch may reduce the need for new mulch. Research the mulch you want to use, follow the 2 inch layer guidelines, keep the mulch from around the base of your plants, pull little weeds early and your mulch will look great! Happy mulching!