Using the right mulch can help you conserve water, protect the roots of your plants from low and high temperatures, improve the quality of the soil, and limit the growth of weeds in the area it’s applied on. Lately you can also find decorative mulch on the market, which will add some colour and atmosphere to the entire garden, if you apply it between plants. Applying mulch is actually pretty easy and doesn’t take much time, but there are still a few details you should know, in order to take the best from this process.
Here are a few tips.
Choose a mulch appropriate for your goals. Before you go to the store, you should consider a few factors and clear out your goals. Think about what you will need the mulch for – easier gardening, controlling weeds, covering a garden path, or maybe to reduce the evaporation of water from your plants? Depending on the purpose there are different types of mulch and application methods. You can also consider using grass clippings or dried leafs as mulch, if you have any in your garden. You should also consider if you prefer a biodegradable mulch, which will become a part of the soil over time, or something which will stay there forever, like stones, plastic and glass. Appearance is also very important here. Mulch can be used as a decorative feature in your entire landscape, or just to cover a few vegetable patches in a garden.
Prepare the area.
This is the time to prepare your garden for the mulching process. You should remove all the weeds from the garden as a start. You can either pull them off completely or just cut them really close to the ground if the roots are very deep in the ground. It’s important to apply the mulch on a flat surface, because this will slow the weed growth, thanks to removing its access to light. You can also dig new plant beds and enrich the soil, if necessary. The biodegradable mulch works best on loose, rich soil. Some people also apply landscaping fabric or newspaper scraps under the mulch, to prevent weed growth completely. This would also be the time to create edges and fences, if you want any in your garden.
Apply the mulch.
It’s important for the proper garden maintenance to apply a thick layer of mulch, especially if you want to retain moisture in your plants and trees or prevent weed growth. You should apply a layer which is at least 5–10cm deep. Have in mind that it’s not good for the plants and trees to have mulch right against their stems. This is why you should leave a small margin from at least 5-6cm from the stem to allow the plant to breathe and prevent water logging or moisture depletion, both of which can destroy your plant. Mulch can be also used to create basins and small natural water features if you’re into these things. Once you pour the mulch, use a rake to spread it around and create an even layer. Just don’t apply too much, because it could be damaging for the plants. You should also use the rake to pull away mulch from the areas where you’d like to plant things.
Renew organic mulch every few years.
As I mentioned earlier, the organic mulch will break down over time and it will blend with the soil, so you will need to replace it with a new one every once in a while. If you want, you can dig the old mulch into the soil or just don’t bother and apply the new one on top of the old one, it doesn’t matter.
Use mulch for plant protection.
Mulch is also a very good solution to protect your plants during the cold months. You can prune back certain plants and cover them entirely with mulch. It will provide them with insulation. Just don’t forget to remove the mulch in spring.