When it comes to mulch, what’s not to love? It retains moisture, protects plants’ roots, and enriches soil as it decomposes. Compared to many gardening tasks, mulching requires minimal effort- lay it down thick once and top it up every few years. The return on investment is high!
What do we recommend when you plant trees? You guessed it- mulch. Newly installed trees thrive if grass and weed competition is cleared in a 6 foot circle around them and a 2-4 inch layer of mulch is applied. So let’s talk about how to properly mulch, and what to avoid.
How to Properly Mulch
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of mulching, let’s talk about how to use it. It might seem intuitive; just put it on the ground. For the most part it is that easy, but there are a few key points to remember:
- Volcano mulching: just say no. Volcano mulching is the practice of piling mulch up against the trunks of trees in a tall volcano shaped mound. The practice encourages fungal and bacterial rot and restricts airflow to the bark, which is bad news for your trees. Just say no.
- Do spread a good layer. 2-4 inches of coverage offers the best moisture retention and weed control. Keep mulch 1-2 inches away from the trunks of trees, stems of shrubs, and crowns of perennials. Plants need airflow where the top growth meets the soil line, so leave a bit of breathing room around that crown.
- Do it at the right time. It’s ideal to wait until the ground has warmed in the late spring to spread mulch so that plants that benefit from warm soil temperatures aren’t kept insulated in the cold.
- Prep the Site Make sure to clear the area of weeds, grass, and undesired vegetation before putting your mulch down. Weed suppression works best if you start with a clean slate.
When it comes to picking what kind of mulch to use, gardener preference is the name of the game. We have a good selection of bulk (sold by the yard) and bagged options to choose from. Click here to take a look at our selection or stop in.