You are currently viewing FIVE RULES FOR MULCH


Mulch is a valuable asset to the garden. When used correctly, it suppresses weeds, helps to keep the soil cool and promotes water retention. To benefit from its positive attributes it must be well maintained and used properly.

1) A Little is Good, a Lot is Not Mulch that is too thick can smother your garden’s plants, trap too much moisture, especially during the spring thaw, and prevent valuable summer rains from penetrating into the soil. 3 inches is plenty.

2) Keep it Natural I once saw a pile of black mulch (why, why, why black?) and as a sprinkler soaked the pile, a black stream of water began draining from the base of the pile. While most dyes are safe, there are some sites claiming smaller batch companies may not be using non-toxic dyes. Safety aside, why introduce a dye to your garden? Consider pine fines or pine straw in lieu of mulch dyed black, red, or whatever color they come up with next.

3) Volcano Mulching You’ve seen it, the pile of mulch up the base of a tree. This excessive mulch traps water against the tree, potentially rotting the bark and leaving the tree susceptible to disease and pests. Over mulching can also starve the tree of oxygen. Too much mulch traps moisture which fills what would have been air cavities, essential for healthy roots. When oxygen levels drop, the plants suffer.

4) Hard Way to Go If you do anything in the garden, fluff your mulch! Hard, compact mulch does nothing for your garden. Rain will bead off like water on a duck’s back, air circulation will be reduced and fungus and molds will be apt to develop. Simply loosening the mulch will do wonders for improved air and water circulation while giving you a true account of how much, if any, additional mulch is needed come spring and late fall.

5) Mulch Gardens Mulch is not the centerpiece of your landscape. If anything, as your garden matures, you should require less and less of it as plants mature and cover the entire surface of the garden. Instead of paying for a mulch bed, invest in more plants that will benefit you for years to come.

Do you have garden questions? Are you in need of some expert care of your lawn and garden? Give us a call! 271.2332

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