Mulch…it does a garden good!
Mulch is any material spread evenly over the surface of the soil to enhance the growth of plants and the appearance of the landscape.
In nature, leaves and needles fall to the ground, creating an organic layer that protects and builds the soil. Using mulch can benefit your maintenance by:
- Reducing weeds, especially annuals, by as much as 90%, significantly reducing labor
- Decreasing the costs of buying and applying herbicides
- Reducing the need for trimming grass around trees and poles
- Conserving water and cutting the cost of irrigation
Making your own mulch on site also saves the time and cost of trucking plant debris to the landfill as well as the expense of buying and transporting commercial mulches.
Mulch is an important pest management practice, nurturing healthy, pest resistant plants by:
- Reducing competition from weeds
- Keeping soil moist
- Adding organic matter that feeds beneficial soil organism
- Preventing soil compaction and improving soil structure
- Insulating plant roots against temperature extremes
- Holding seeds, fertilizers and topsoil in place and reducing splashing of water and soil that might contain disease causing agents
In summer, 2 inches of mulch cuts water loss by 20% and lowers temperature in the top 4 inches of soil by 10 degrees. Young trees also establish themselves better and grow stronger roots under much than under the bare ground.
Mulch is also a very important for controlling soil erosion. Wind and rain can carry away exposed soil particles, turning a valuable resource into a pollutant. In fact, soil sediment is the single greatest pollutant in our waterways. Covering the soil with a layer of mulch helps keep soil in place when exposed to rain and wind. It can also reduce storm water runoff.