Time To Add That Fall Mulch!

Mulch is not just for springtime planting and landscape projects. With colder months ahead, mulch should also be added in the fall to protect your plants from harsher weather.  Mulch will insulate the roots of your trees and plants to give them extra protection from the winter cold. However, there are correct ways and times to add mulch to your landscaping in the fall. 

When To Add Fall Mulch

The trick to adding mulch in the fall is not to add it too early. You don’t want to over-insulate the roots of your plants before temperatures begin to drop. The extra insulation adds heat, promoting new growth which is not necessarily good late in the season. Too much new growth can leave your plants vulnerable to stress once the colder weather hits. 

The best time to add mulch for the winter is in the late fall, after the first frost. Once it begins to reach those colder temperatures at night, it is safe to add an extra layer of protection. The first frost should be your indication it’s time to head to your local landscape supply store and purchase your mulch for fall. 

Where To Place Mulch

For the fall, mulch should be added around trees to protect the roots. In addition, you can use mulch over planting areas, like flower beds, where you have bulbs planted or perennial flowers that will come back in the spring. 

How Much Mulch To Add

For winter protection, a layer of three to four inches of mulch is usually adequate. Reduce the depth near the stems of plants or trunks of trees, increasing the depth as you spread the mulch over the extending root areas. Once spring arrives, you should remove this layer of mulch to allow healthy growth.

Posted on behalf of Find Local Landscape Supply

Getting The Most From Your Mulch

Do you know when to mulch, what type to use and how much is needed for your landscaping projects? Mulch is used to retain moisture and nutrients in the soil while preventing weed growth. While mulch is made from a variety of organic materials such as grass, leaves and even paper, one of the most useful and aesthetically pleasing is tree or bark mulch. However, there is a right way to apply mulch, along with benefits to using certain types of bark mulches for different projects. 

Choosing Your Mulch

Mulch can be made from any type of tree, but there are certain types that are more popular to use for mulch. Hardwood trees are often ground to become mulch, with some mulches containing a variety of different types of trees while others are made from a specific tree or bark. Some specific uses for mulch may require buying the right blend for your needs. 

  • Playgrounds. Mulch is often used for playgrounds at schools, parks and daycare facilities. In some states, mulch must meet certain certifications to be used in play areas. Cypress mulch is often an excellent choice for these areas as it does not break down as quickly, making it excellent for reducing mud.
  • Trees. To protects roots, reduce weeds and retain moisture around trees and shrubs, pine bark mulch is often an excellent choice. Usually 2” of mulch replaced annually will be sufficient to keep trees and shrub bases protected.
  • Aesthetics. If you are using mulch to as an aesthetic enhancer to your yard more than to create topsoil, dyed mulches are a great choice. These mulches are often made from hardwood and dyed a variety of colors to compliment your yard. 

To ensure you get the right mulch in the right amount, talk to your local landscape supply store. They can help you choose the best mulch for your project, as well as give you tips on how to maintain it over the years.

Posted on behalf of Clayton Hulen, Green Brothers Earth Works


Landscaping Essentials: Mulch

One of the single most important tools for keeping your landscape beautiful and healthy is the proper application of mulch. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most commonly neglected aspects of landscape maintenance. Mulching your flower beds, trees and shrubbery offers a wide variety of benefits, and can help you to keep your landscape design looking its best throughout the year. 

What is Mulch?

Available in a wide range of materials, mulch is a term used to describe any material spread around the roots of a plant. Organic mulch is made up of plant materials like straw, pine needles, bark, leaves and grass clippings. Inorganic mulch includes manufactured materials, stones, gravel and rock. 

Inorganic mulch typically does not break down over time, which means it doesn’t need to be replaced as often. The primary drawback of inorganic mulch, however, is the fact that because it doesn’t break down, it also doesn’t turn into nutrient-rich compost. 

Why is Mulch Important?

There are many reason why mulching is important for your garden and overall landscape design. Properly applied mulch helps to prevent soil erosion, inhibits the growth of weeds and lends a more finished look to your design. Mulch also slows the evaporation of moisture from plant roots, which allows you to water less often without sacrificing the health of your plants. 

Groundcover crops like clover and purslane can also be effective living mulches, with nitrogen-fixing properties to encourage healthy plant growth while still inhibiting the growth of weeds. Consult your landscaping professional to discuss living mulch options for your landscaping design, or to determine which alternatives would be better suited to your unique design.

Posted on behalf of Clayton Hulen, Green Brothers Earth Works


Choosing the Right Mulch for Your Landscape

There’s no such thing as an one-size-fits-all mulch.

Your understanding of the various attributes of different types of mulch will help you select the right mulch for your landscape. And, the first distinction or decision you’ll want to make is whether your situation calls for “summer (growing) mulch” or “winter mulch.”

Summer or Winter Mulch

Summer (growing) mulch is typically applied in the spring, after the soil has begun to warm.  Summer mulch is used mostly to: 

  • Reduce the growth of weeds
  • Keep the soil moist
  • Keep the soil evenly warm throughout the summer

Winter mulch is typically applied in the fall, after the soil begins to cool. Shredded leaves, straw, and pine mulch make for good winter mulches. Winter mulch is used mostly to:

  • Insulate woody plants
  • Ensure the soil is evenly cool during the winter


Your next consideration is deciding which mulch is best for your location.  Following are helpful examples of matching mulch to a specific location.

  • Vegetable gardens and small fruit plans commonly require straw, with black plastic
  • Shrub beds and the area around trees are suited well for pine bark mulch chunks, wood chips, and pine needles
  • Annual and perennial beds can be made attractive with fine mulches such as cocoa shells, buckwheat hulls, wood shavings, and bark granules.
  • Rock gardens look more natural with crushed stone or fine gravel mulches

Cost and Availability

Cost and availability are certainly two other considerations when choosing a mulch.

Some mulches are “regional,” only available in regions where they’re processed.  Buckwheat and cocoa are quite attractive, but they are also “regional” and much more expensive than bark or wood chips.

Posted on behalf of Clayton Hulen, Green Brothers Earth Works


What Can Mulch Do For Your Landscape?

Mulch adds a certain beauty to your landscape that can’t be achieved without it.

However, it is good for more than revamping the look of your landscape. Mulch can help your landscaping goals become a reality in more than just a few ways.

Mulch Can Reduce Plant Diseases

Some plant diseases are due to fungal spores that are deflected from the ground up onto your plants from rain or watering your plants. Such diseases can damage and even destroy your plants.

You can use mulch to reduce plant diseases. Mulch allows for a gentler dispersing of rain or water along your plant bed instead of allowing fungal spores to bounce up from the bare ground onto your plant.

Mulch Can Control Erosion

Mulch creates a barrier between your precious soil and the harsh elements of weather. Mulch keeps your soil intact instead of being eroded by rain and wind. It is especially useful when landscaping sloped areas that are easily eroded by heavy rain.

Mulch Can Regulate Your Soil’s Temperature

In most places, there are dramatic temperature fluctuations. Extreme high and low temperatures can wreak havoc on soil and plants.

Mulch provides a layer of protection that helps to regulate the temperature of your soil. You can think of it as a protective “blanket” that protects your soil and shields the roots of your plants from the harsh, hot sun.

Mulch Can Conserve Your Soil’s Moisture

The soil and roots of your plants would be dried up by the sun without mulch. For example, by adding mulch to your plant beds, you’ll not have to water them as frequently because the soil conserves more moisture.

Posted on behalf of Clayton Hulen, Green Brothers Earth Works


Choosing the Right Landscape Mulch

Landscape mulch serves several different purposes. It can add to the beauty of the landscape design by adding uniform background color around plantings. It also provides a functional service by helping lock in moisture around plantings and, when organic, adding nutrients to the soil. There are several different types of mulch available for use in landscaping. It can be helpful to understand the different types of mulch available and the differences between them. 

Shredded Bark
Often made from cedar bark, this is one of the most popular mulch products available. It is organic and provides the natural color of wood around your plantings. It is fairly slow to decompose, which can make it a good choice for its long life and low cost. 

Pine Bark
Another wood product used for mulch, this bark comes in larger, more solid chunks than the shredded bark. This wood mulch will have an even longer life than the shredded bark, but is not recommended for sloped areas because it can be easily washed away. It also is often available in a variety of colors. 

Cocoa Hull
This fine, chocolate colored mulch also comes with a delicious chocolate scent. It tends to be a bit more expensive than the bark mulches and can potentially be poisonous to pets. 

Artificial or Rubber Mulch
Recycled tires are used to create this long-lasting mulch. In addition to creating flower borders, it has become quite popular for use under playground equipment.

Services Provided By Landscape Suppliers

If you have decided to do some landscaping work on your home, the one thing you need to be sure of is that you have a reliable landscape supplier who is going to provide you with nothing but excellent service and high quality materials. Using higher quality landscaping materials offers a wide range of benefits over using cheaper ones that are going to continuously need to be replaced.

Landscaping materials include things like stone, soil, sands and mulch all of which should be of the highest quality in order to create the best look and function for your yard. Providing quality materials is the primary service expected of a landscape supplier but the best companies will offer excellent customer service as well.

Delivery is an expected requirement of any hardscape supplier due to the weight of the materials. Most will deliver directly to your home or work site and unload your products to exactly where you them. Charges and fees usually apply depending on your location. Having your materials delivered straight to you, on the day of your choice means that there is one less task that you have to take care of. Most companies also accept payment on credit as they understand a landscaping project can be costly and paying up front may not always be practical. 

The other service landscape suppliers can provide includes their connections with expert landscape designers and landscape architects. If you decide that you project was a little too ambitious to do alone after all, your supplier will often be able to refer you to an experienced local landscape professional.

Mulching Matters: The Power of Pine

Mulching is a proven method for protecting and enriching the soil in your garden beds or around individual plants. Organic mulches are a popular choice for landscapers because they are readily available, easy to apply and more economical than non-organic mulches.

Pine mulch is one commonly used type of organic mulch. For this type of mulch, there is the option of using either pine straw or pine nuggets. Pine straw consists of weathered pine tree needles and is excellent for providing dense coverage and thwarting the growth of weeds. Pine straw mulch is not easily washed away by rain and requires yearly reapplication to remain effective. An appealing aspect of pine straw mulch is the look of the material; the rust colored needles are an attractive detail in garden beds and can enhance the overall aesthetics of any landscape.

Pine nuggets are chunks of pine tree bark. Compared to pine straw, this darker colored mulch provides looser coverage and can last for several years before a new application is needed. On the other hand, pine nuggets are more susceptible to erosion and you may find some mulch is washed away by rain water. Altogether, pine nuggets are a good choice in drier climate conditions where a more permanent mulching solution is desired.

These differences aside, both pine straw and pine nugget mulches provide all the benefits of organic mulches. Organic materials spread around the base of a plant decompose over time, discharging soil-enhancing nutrients and encouraging the growth of soil-friendly microorganisms. Organic mulches also promote healthy plant growth by keeping the soil aerated and protecting it from moisture loss and erosion. They insulate soil against adverse temperatures, reduce weed growth and keep soilborne diseases at bay. Additionally, because mulches clear the area around plants, they almost negate the likelihood of accidentally damaging foliage during mowing or trimming.

By choosing the right pine mulch for your gardening needs you can reap the benefits of mulching today!

The Most Effective Mulching Varieties

Mulch improves the health of your garden by keeping moisture in the soil and protecting fragile roots from exposure.  It blocks weeds, keeps topsoil from drying out in the heat, and will break down in the winter months to provide even richer soil the next season.

Mulch is sold in bulk at your local landscape supply center.  Depending on the type of mulch you need, you may be able to make your own mulch.  For larger quantities or specific types of mulch, the landscape supply center will have what you need.

Grass clippings are an excellent natural mulch.  You should use the clippings from the first three to four times the lawn is mowed in the springtime for the healthiest mix.  However, if you have applied weed killers or other chemicals to your lawn, don’t use your grass clippings for mulch. You can also use shredded leaves as mulch.  Use a lawn mower or clipper to make them.  These are not a good choice if you live in a windy climate.

Compost is another great and natural option for your garden beds.  You can create your own if you have the time and inclination or buy it at a nursery or gardening center.  It works great to re-introduce fresh organic material to your topsoil over time.  Your landscape supply center will also carry pine bark, hardwood bark, cypress, and dyed mulches you can use to achieve the look you want.

Avoid the use of hay or straws for mulching.  Both have seeds that can create quite the weed epidemic in your landscape.

Fall Mulching

With winter rapidly approaching, now is a good time to help protect your landscaping shrubs and plants from winter weather by adding mulch.  In the spring and summer, mulch helps retain moisture, control weeds, and prevent erosion.  In the winter, mulch insulates the soil and helps protect roots from freeze damage. 

Mulching in the fall will help keep the ground temperatures more even.  The ground will be slower to freeze and slower to thaw.  Particularly in the fall and spring, this freezing and thawing cycle can cause the soil to heave and expose roots to the freezing air.  Mulching now will help avoid this problem and protect roots from exposure.  Mulching will also keep the soil from freezing as deeply.  This encourages worms to stay active closer to the surface and allows plants and shrubs to continue to absorb moisture.

One thing to consider is that mulching in the fall will keep the soil from freezing longer which will delay when some plants go dormant.  If you have plants that may be adversely affected by delayed dormancy, wait to mulch until the soil has frozen for the season.  Then you can take advantage of fall mulching without harming these plants. 

Applying two to three inches of bark mulch, pine mulch, pine straw, or other organic mulches will do a good job of protecting your shrubs and plants from winter weather.  Too much mulch can be detrimental, and too little will not get the job done.   In the spring, your plants and shrubs will be healthy and ready for another season of enhancing the beauty of your home and landscape.