Adding mulch to your shrubs and other plants pays important dividends over time that other forms of gardening just can’t match. The major benefit in mulching is that it returns nutrients to your lawn, so your grass can grow healthy and thick. It also keeps the soil moist and covered to keep the temperature down. In addition, you may not need to fertilize as much, since you’ll be gaining so much from the mulched clippings.
When to Mulch
Spring is the best time to mulch in order to keep soil moist throughout the summer, and fall is a good time to use leaves as a cover against cold in the winter. Be sure when installing mulch that your plants are not buried too deeply. Thick mulch can be harmful to shallow-rooted plants. In general, you can mulch and expect good results during the fall and winter, and then early spring. One reason fall and winter are recommended is due to the fact your plants may suffer due to colder temperatures during winter, so they’ll be grateful for a cozy, mulch blanket. Fall is also when soil erosion is at its peak due to the rain. Spring is when we see the weeds shoot up out of places we didn’t even know were there, so mulching before they get even a glimpse of warm sunshine is a good idea.
What Goes Into Ideal Mulch?
The best mulch for your garden depends on a number of things, including personal preference and budget. If you are interested in improving your soil fertility, choose organic mulch that suits your needs.
Gardeners wishing to keep their gardens completely organic should be careful when choosing natural mulch that contains dyes. Shredded bark is one of the most common and least expensive types of mulch. It comes from a variety of sources, including cedar trees. Shredded bark is one of the best mulch types to use on slopes and it breaks down relatively slowly. Some shredded-bark products are byproducts from other industries and they’re considered environmentally friendly.
Leaves save money by shredding fallen leaves in your yard and using them as mulch to cover the soil. Fallen leaves break down quickly (often in less than a year), but should be shredded before use to prevent them from matting down. Fallen leaves are commonly used as mulch in winter. And last but not least, grass clippings are another type of mulch you can make for free, and grass clippings break down fast but add nitrogen to the soil. It’s best to use grass clippings in thin layers or to let the grass dry before spreading it as mulch, otherwise it starts to stink and rot as it decomposes.