It’s unfortunate that most of us think of mulching as an afterthought, a topping or icing on the cake after you’ve completed your landscaping. Although this may be the case on newly completed landscaped backyards, mulching is an integral part to maintaining the health of your backyard.
Every spring we see that people purposely use mulch to help beautify their gardens. What we DON’T see is people use mulch in the fall. We want to change that mindset because mulching in the fall is a potential cost-saving that pays it forward in the spring and summer. Here’s why:
Mulch as a Blanket
Using mulch to cover the ground in your garden is a barrier between the freezing cold and snow in the winter. This barrier acts like insulation to help moderate the temperature of the roots of the plants, trees and shrubs in your garden. It also prevents soil erosion and compaction from heavy rains. Hands down, it is one of the quickest, easiest and highly effective action that you can do to protect and maintain your garden. You simply pile it on around the base of plants, shrubs or trees or over larger areas throw on a nice thick layer (2 to 4 inches). Some examples of organic mulches that you spread out on top of the soil include straw, shredded leaves, aged manure and wood chips.
Keeping it Moist
By default, we all know that mulch is good at keeping the ground moist. It is probably one of better known attributes of mulch. Some research conducted by various universities show that moisture retention can be as high as 70% (dependent on a number of factors). This is because it prevents dew which is condensation of moisture found in the soil and not necessarily condensation of water from the air. Mulch is the one barrier to catch the condensation from the soil and prevents it from being drawn up the soil and evaporating and keeping the roots of your plants, trees and shrubs surrounded by moist soil.
Weed Be Gone (Almost!)
It is a fact that weeds are universally disliked, especially in beautified areas such as manicured parks, public gardens and your yard. If you take a closer look at public spaces you will see that mulch, whether it is red, brown or black or bark, is used to manage and control weeds. A study conducted by McGill university showed that mulching can significantly reduce weeds to the point where it is manageable, where 7.5 weeds showed up in 110 square foot area. This mean that the city can keep their public spaces nicer for a longer period of time, thus saving money. To get to this type of result yourself, you need to make sure the mulch itself is weed-free or you will end up growing more weeds in your garden. It is also recommended that you have enough mulch to prevent existing weed seeds from germinating.
Happy Fall Mulching!
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