It’s that time of year again and gardeners everywhere are getting the planting itch. Among your plans for this growing season should be the addition of mulch to improve your soil’s health and keep the weeds out of your garden. It also improves the view!
If you’ve never used mulch before, the process is very simple. You’ll want to decide what kind of mulch you want first. It varies in appearance, texture, and price. These include pine mulch, cypress mulch, compost, bark, gravel, black plastic, grass clippings, and even shredded leaves. You’ll receive different benefits from different mulches. Plastic, for example, will keep the soil warm while bark chunks will aerate it.
Once you’ve decided what you’d like to use, it’s time to prepare the area. Dig the beds, install borders or edging, and enrich the soil now, if you’re going to. This is also the time to pull any early weeds and lay down landscaping fabric or plastic.
Depending on what kind of mulch you chose and how you obtained it – whether through a gardening center or from your own lawn – it may not be easily hauled to your garden spot. Choose an easy means of transportation, whether in a wheelbarrow or bucket, and begin adding mulch to your chosen spot.
The ideal depth is up to you but aim for at least two to four inches. Avoid shoving mulch right up against existing plants and tree trunks. You don’t want to suffocate them. For plants that will be added later, you can create basins in the mulch where they will be planted. Otherwise, rake the area flat and you’re finished.
Mulch can also be used in the winter by covering pruned plants entirely with it. This will insulate the plant from the cold. The next spring, simply uncover it. Remember, as well, that mulch doesn’t last forever. You’ll need to renew organic ones every few years since they will have decomposed. It’s fine to add new mulch on top of the old.