To Mulch Or Not To Mulch?

That was a trick question, because the answer is almost always “yes!”

Mulch varies in composition but is most commonly made from organic material such as leaves, wood chips, grass clippings, peat moss, pine straw, or bark chips. It can also be made from compost or manure. It is typically spread around the base of plants, trees or throughout flower or veggie beds. We don’t recommend mulching with large bark chips as these can sometimes take a long time to break down and unevenly trap moisture and encourage bad molds.

A layer of mulch protects your plants by providing a buffer from heat and cooler temperatures. Malnourished plants, potentially suffering from exposed roots, will wilt from moisture stress. Mulch improves the water-holding capacity of the soil, helping to keep roots moist. Winterizing of many species of plants is definitely made more successful with the aid of mulch.

Unmulched soil is vulnerable to the elements. Wind, rain, and even sprinkler splatter can cause unprotected soil to erode or overly compact, making a tough time for the roots of your plants to find homes. Erosion depletes vital nutrients from the soil (including phosphorus and nitrogen). Mulching not only deters erosion, it provides much-needed nutrients for the soil as it breaks down, and encourages the activity of worms and other beneficial organisms. It helps keep the rhizosphere alive!

The mighty power of mulch even extends to keeping weeds out of your garden to prevent root competition! When weed seeds are exposed to the sun, they germinate. When they are buried beneath a layer of mulch, they lose access to that sunlight. If you’re looking for an alternative to using chemicals on your weeds, you might like to consider using mulch in your garden.

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A “mulch volcano” is a recipe for a sad tree! If there is too much moisture at the base of the trunk or the crown of the root ball, your tree could be at risk of unfriendly fungi and disease.

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Mulch is a constant companion in our work, and we always make sure that the gardens we create or maintain are left happier and on the path to being more nutrient-rich than they were before!

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