There’s a good chance that you see mulch in the gardens and landscapes wherever you go. Whether it’s adding a pop of color around the base of a tree or nourishing the plants in your yard, many gardeners know this magic material as a “gardener’s best friend.”

What Is Mulch?

In general, mulch is a 2-4-inch layer of inorganic or organic material that covers the surface of the soil in your garden. The most common types of mulch include wood chips, shredded straw, stone and plastic sheeting. Mulch can be added over the course of the year, depending on the weather and growing conditions. Mulch should be covering open soil but not make contact with tree trunks or plant stems.

What Does Mulch Do?

Mulch works to prevent weeds from sprouting and growing around plantings in your yards. Aside from being an eyesore, weeds also steal valuable water, sunlight and nutrients from the plants in your yard. Mulch also helps to lock in moisture beneath the soil, so that you don’t need to water things as frequently. In the summer heat, mulch keeps the soil underground cooler. In the fall, it will insulate your soil to extend the growing season as temperatures cool down.

Mulch also is your first line of defense against plant diseases spreading. Most plant diseases form in the soil and spread to surrounding plants. By covering the soil surface with mulch, you have a buffer between the soil and the leaves.

Where Should You Put Mulch?

Mulch should be applied in an even layer around the base of plants or trees. It should never be placed on top of the plants or in sky-high layers around the base of a tree. Putting too much mulch down can prevent air circulation and actually kill the plants you were trying to protect. If you are in a colder area or have damp soil, use a thinner layer. If you live in a warm or hot area, you should utilize a thicker layer. In general, you should apply mulch in the spring to lock in moisture before summer heat and in the late fall to protect plants through the winter.

Mulch and Yard Maintenance from JFC Grounds Maintenance

Ready to take better care of your lawn and plants? Give JFC Grounds Maintenance a call at (410) 655-2887.