How beautiful when your lawn shows off those gorgeous flowers surrounded by mulch. Every detail is in place. Like a perfect manicure!
But do you know that a manicure is more than beauty? It’s the same with mulch.
One of the most important components of a landscape is mulch.
Mulch is any material placed on the soil surface to cover and protect it. By protecting the soil, mulch helps valuable plant material grow well.
- Insulates soil and helps moderate temperature swings
- Slows water evaporation from soil
- Reduces soil compaction that occurs during hard rains
- Interferes with weed seed germination and reduces weed growth
- Makes weeds that do appear easy to pull
- Keeps fungal spores and other disease organisms from splashing from the soil onto the tree
- Buffers trees from lawn equipment damage
- Gives planting beds a manicured appearance
- Protects against soil erosion and water runoff
When mulch is applied we change the microclimate around the plants. Mulch conserves soil moisture in many ways. Due to our NC weather, Mulch will reduce evaporation from the soil surface and reduces weeds that use water. Mulch holds water near where it falls, reducing runoff so that it can soak into the soil. Mulch breaks the impact of water droplets and slows down water movement to prevent soil erosion.
Soil fertility is increased as the organic mulch breaks down and releases valuable nutrients. Beneficial microorganisms that improve soil health help mulch breakdown. Weeds have a difficult time growing in areas with mulch. A thick layer will reduce weed germination by eliminating light from the surface. Weeds that do germinate will be discouraged from reaching the surface. Plant health will be improved since weeds compete for water and nutrients.
Soil structure is improved with organic mulch. This is done through improved aeration, moisture conditions, and the biological activity involved with the breakdown of organic materials. Compaction is less since mulch reduces water impact and disperses the weight of vehicles, people, and animals. Mulch improves surfaces for traffic, especially during wet weather. They reduce mud when it is wet and dust when it is dry. One of the main benefits mulch also provides is to improve the appearance of landscape plantings.
Mulch moderates soil temperature. There are a couple of benefits here. In the summer, organic mulches keep the soil cool, which may prevent stress, particularly on newly set plants. Which is great for Sanford’s summer. Mulch keeps soil temperatures warmer in the winter. This may limit alternate freezing and thawing that could cause injury to young roots.
Many organic materials may be used as mulch. The most common are leaves, pine straw, pine bark, cypress, hardwood chips and shredded hardwood bark. Inorganic materials like woven weed barriers, gravel, crushed rock, and lava rock may also be used.
Mulch can be applied at any time of the year. The best time to apply it is right after planting and once a year to improve color and maintain thickness. Get the plants started off right by conserving moisture, preventing weeds, reducing compaction, and giving them all the other benefits discussed above. Mulches should be applied 2 to 3 inches deep on a clean, weed-free soil around trees and shrubs, 1 to 2 inches around perennials, and 1 inch around annuals. Don’t cover Bermuda grass, nutsedge, or other perennial weeds with a layer of mulch without eliminating them first. Use a directed spray of the appropriate product for the weeds you have and make sure they are dead before applying mulch. Even though mulch is good, too much of a good thing can be bad. Do not pile mulch against the stems of plants. Excess moisture held there may cause stem rots or attract insects or voles that may damage plants.
Termites feed on many of these mulch products. Mulches do not attract more termites that are already in the area. Be careful not to cover over the slab height on slab construction, especially with vinyl or wood siding. In our area, you should confirm structure treatment when purchasing and inspect yearly for termite activity. If so you have nothing to worry about. Contact us for your Free Estimate for Mulch installation