There are many benefits of mulching plants and trees. It helps keep soil temperature more steady, while protecting the roots both from too much heat and too much coldness. It keeps the moisture of the soil from evaporating so you won’t have to water regularly, consequently conserving water. Also, it prevents weed seeds from sprouting by blocking off sunlight.
A mulched tree receives protection from lawn movers and string trimmers that could harm the tree’s bark. And if the mulch used is organic, it decomposes over time and provides nourishment to the plant and makes the soil a much better home for the roots. Below are some things to consider when you are shopping around for mulch.
1. Consider the source of the mulch. Many commercial organic based mulches, except for straw, are byproducts of wood coming from the timber industry. Mulches in bags from reliable garden supply stores or home improvement centers or bulk mulches coming from good landscape or lawn care supply firms are likely safe and clean. But cheap bagged mulches, like those usually available at gas stations may contain shredded debris from construction sites or other wastes containing toxic chemicals, lead paint, or metals.
2. Consider your plant when you’re choosing mulch. Mulches that are medium-textured, such as hardwood work well in most places. On the other hand, for permanent mulching like around trees, bigger chunks like the pine bark nuggets last longer. For a vegetable bed, use a more fluffy, easily-decomposed mulch, like straw. Recycled rubber tires, recycled glass, or gravel mulch could be a nice cover for the ground, however, they will not enhance the soil as organic-based mulch does. Also, the pieces can stray all over the walkway or yard which is unsightly and sometimes unsafe. To help hinder the growth of weeds, you could place an underlying layer of garden fabric underneath the mulch. Periodically tidy up and replenish your mulch so the fabric won’t be exposed. Mulch colour is mainly a matter or personal preference. Dark brown mulch that is not dyed provides the most classic look.
3. Bulk or bag? Usually, mulches come in bags, often containing two to three cubic fee, or truckloads which are measured in cubic yards. Mulches in bags are more expensive but a lot easier to handle, particularly when you don’t have a place for a bulk or pile of mulch. If you purchase bagged mulch, you could get different types for various purposes. Prices differ, and delivery distance can affect cost, considering gas prices today.
4. Plan ahead. Break down the area you want to mulch into smaller shapes, like circles or rectangles. Then measure them and calculate the area of every partition. Add all figures to get the total area. And then decide on the depth: one to two inches for a perennial bed; and three to four inches for a tree. One cubic foot could cover about four square feet three inches deep; while one cubic yard will could cover around 110 square feet at the same depth.
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