Hey there, fellow gardener! We're here to help teach you how to mulch in 6 basic steps.
One question we have for you: When was the last time you gave your garden a good mulch as part of your regular maintenance routine?
One garden task that doesn't get as much glory and pomp as other garden tasks is mulching.
Most gardeners create yearly, quarterly, monthly, or even weekly to-do lists that include monitoring plant health with water, sun or shade, fertilizing, dead-heading, debris pickup, and pruning.
However, a good mulch can be just as important to your plants as every other project on your list.
Furthermore, you can mulch any time of year! You do not have to wait until spring to mulch. In this post, we will explain why mulching any time of the year is acceptable, and provide you with tips and tricks to teach you how to better mulch your garden.
We even have mulching hacks to share!
What is Mulching?
But first, the basics. Mulching is the act of moving, spreading, and placing natural or synthetic material in and around your plants and garden beds. Mulch itself is any material that is used for covering a garden bed area for the purpose of:
- Weed control
- Soil moisture retention
- Root protection from heat or cold
- Encouraging soil microorganisms
- Improving general soil health
- Improving soil drainage
- Reducing soil erosion
- Enhancing the aesthetics of your garden
- Provide protection from mechanical equipment
- Reducing soil compaction
Not convinced yet that mulching should be at the top of your garden maintenance to-do list? The act of mulching can enhance a plant's health and lengthen its longevity in your garden in so many ways. For this reason alone, we want to educate you about the benefits of mulching so that you can take pride in your beautiful outdoor space.
How Often Do You Have to Mulch?
A good mulching consists of a mulch thickness of 3-4 inches. At this depth, the mulch should last a typical garden about 1.5 to 2 years with some weeding. Yes, there will still be weeding to do, but not as bad as if you hadn't mulched at all. The longevity of the mulch will depend on temperature, moisture, and the local microorganisms ability to break it down.
Types of Mulch
Mulch can come from natural or synthetic sources. Also, the variety of mulch options come in different colors, shapes, sizes, and textures.
Natural Mulch Examples:
- Chipped or shredded wood: Arborist Chip, Bark Chip, or Sawdust
- Tree or shrub leaves: waxy leaves (Laurel or Oak), unwaxy leaves (Maple, Birch, or Willow)
- Compost: raw, partially, or mostly broken down materials from different natural sources
- Burlap bags: hemp
- Rock: pebbles, aggregate, shale, lava, limestone, concrete chunks, or other decorative rocks
Manufactured or Synthetic Mulch Examples:
- Burlap bags: plastic
- Cardboard sheets in various sizes
- Plastic sheets: white, black, clear
- Landscape fabric or other weaved materials
Based on your needs or the needs of your garden, choose the best type of mulch for you based on its specific use and your local climatic conditions.