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Why Do We Mulch?

Why Do We Mulch?

It is hard to believe it is July already! I have spoken with several gardeners recently who had questions about the use of mulch in their gardens. When properly utilized, mulch aides in reducing moisture evaporation and will help soil retain moisture for plant roots. Mulch can also reduce weeds by inhibiting their growth and blocking sunlight.

Applied mulches also have other properties. They aid in the regulation of soil temperature and improve soil structure. Additionally, mulch enhances nutrient content and provides an enhanced aesthetic quality to the landscape. Application of mulch can also give your landscape a neat, uniformed appearance.

It is vital to select high-quality mulch. I recommend organic mulches. The most popular organic mulch is woodchips. My father, who is an avid gardener, likes to use pine needles. Hard and softwood barks and other plant materials are also commonly used as mulch.

I recommend applying a two to three inch layer of mulch to your garden beds and around the base of trees. When mulching around the base of a tree, you should ideally extend the mulch all the way out to the dripline. However, do not pile the mulch up against the stems of the plants or trunk of the tree. The “volcano” method of mulching can lock moisture around the stem or trunk of a tree and possibly contribute to decay, disease or vole damage. Additionally, it is important to leave space between the trunk or stem and the mulch ring.

Please contact me at 901-752-1207 if you have any questions. Be safe out in the garden and don’t forget to water your plants. They will need it this month!

Photo credit: jpmorgan/jwjones & Urban Forestry-Napierville,Ill edt.

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