If you are a homeowner with a lawn or backyard, you may have the term ‘mulch’ a couple of times. It is common for first-time homeowners to sit and wonder “what is mulch?”. Well, in this article, we will not only define the term for you but will also guide you through the process. Mulch is described as a material that is laid over the surface of the soil as a covering. Before you begin the process of covering your soil with the substance, you should know what does mulch do. Usually, gardeners and landscapers suggest mulch in order to retain moisture in the soil, suppress the seasonal weeds, ensure that the soil is cool, ensure that it does not get struck by frost heaving during winter, and enhance the aesthetics of your garden.
Organic and Synthetic are the Two Broad Types of Mulch:
Organic Mulch Options
Bark: You can use bark mulches for the soil around trees, shrubs as well as the front walkways and foundation plantings of your garden. While they don’t mix well into the soil because of their thickness and rugged texture, they do last longer than other organic mulches that are finer.
Grass Clippings: Grass clippings are suitable for the areas of your lawn that are prone to weeds or are struck by weeds. They are finer than barks and have high moisture which also helps them decompose easily into the soil. However, they do leave an odour upon decomposing.
Newspaper: If you are a fan of reusing and recycling, newspapers are a good option for you. You can shred the newspapers and use them as mulch to keep the soil well hydrated. They also help keep the soil cooler and free from weeds for your plants to grow healthy. However, a newspaper may not be as aesthetically appealing as other organic options.
Shredded Leaves: As one of the most popular garden mulch, shredded leaves can be used in any area of your garden and may attract earthworms to further increase the quality of your soil. They are the best for woodland gardens or a vegetable garden. They also repel excess water in rainy seasons which prevents the soil from diluting its nutrient value. However, many homeowners do not like the look of shredded leaves in their garden.
Straw and Hay: If you have a vegetable garden, straw and salt hay are a good option for you. They keep the soil healthy and free of pests. However, it is important to make sure that the quality of the straw and hay is good in order to see their benefits on your soil.
Synthetic Mulch Options
Plastic: For foundation plantings and other shrubs and trees, plastic mulching is a good option. It is because these plants attract weeds and plastic helps in suppressing these weeds. However, many landscapers worry that the plastic may also hamper the nutrient value of the soil in your garden.
Fabric: For weed-prone soil, fabric mulches are also a good option. However, these may block the water content to enter your soil. It is therefore advised to go for porous fabric or cut holes in the fabric before you lay it out in the soil.
Stone and gravel: If you have a herb garden or a rain garden, stone and gravel may be nice options for you. They are drainage-friendly which keeps your soil cool and well-hydrated. But, if you are looking for less work, stone and gravel may make it difficult for you to move and remove and work on the soil under.
How to Mulch
While preparing mulch for gardens may sound like an easy job, there are some steps that you should take to make sure that this task is done properly. Here are the 5 easy steps:
- Locate the area that needs to be mulched
- Trim the area remove the visible weed
- Prepare your mulch in a bucket
- Use work gloves and a wheelbarrow for large amounts of mulch.
- Spread the mulch using these tools.
It depends on the area you need to mulch. You can determine your total garden mulch by multiplying the square footage by the desired depth and then divide that number by 324.
Ideally, mulch should 3-4 inches deep,
Mid to late spring is the ideal mulching season.
Ensure that you keep the mulch away from the trunk of the tree and ensure that the mulch is around the roots. This is why you must dig around the tree before adding the mulch to a tree.
To save yourself from all the stress, hire the right lawn installation service and you are good to go!