The Benefits of Mulch in your Planting Beds

As a construction project comes to an end and the walls and patios are built, the irrigation is set and the plants are planted there is one final task to complete – the installation of mulch.  It really makes a project seem complete, the finishing touch that makes the garden really pop.  It looks great and completes the garden, but the installation of mulch in a garden has many benefits and is a task that should be completed every couple of years.

 

The benefits of mulch in your planting beds:

Water retention – Mulch reduces the amount of water that will evaporate from your soil allowing you to water less.  A layer of mulch acts like a protective top soil that will keep the ground cooler and allow it to hold in more moisture, especially during summer months and during times of drought.  .

Weed control – Acting as a layer of top soil, mulch inhibits the growth of weeds by trapping them underground without light to properly germinate.  Although some weeds will inevitably grow and break through the surface, mulch is a natural form of weed control and helps keep weed pulling to a minimum.

Soil quality – Mulch improves the quality of your soil as it naturally breaks down and disintegrates (which is why it needs to be applied every couple of years).  The nutrients in mulch help improve the water retention and movement in both sandy and clay soils.

 

Types of mulch:

These are the common types of mulch we install at our jobs here at Lazar Landscape.  Depending on the look and the conditions of the site you could use any of these varieties in your landscape.

This is 1/4" fir bark, a fine clean look, but may blow away in windy areas due to its size

This is 1/4″ fir bark, a fine clean look, but may blow away in windy areas due to its size

This is fir bark mulch in a 3/4" size, great for a family friendly yard!

This is fir bark mulch in a 3/4″ size, great for a family friendly yard!

Shredded Cedar mulch, clean, brown look for a hillside

Shredded Cedar mulch, clean, brown look for a hillside

Shredded redwood mulch - a redish, brown color, but also great for hillsides.

Shredded redwood mulch – a redish, brown color, but also great for hillsides.

Playground mulch, great for play areas - bonus no splinters!

Playground mulch, great for play areas – bonus no splinters!

Tips for installing mulch in your planting beds:

–        Before applying a new application of mulch to your planting beds, be sure to complete a thorough clean up existing weeds.  This will allow the mulch to do its job of inhibiting weed growth by trapping the seeds below the soil.

–        Water planting beds prior to mulch installation to allow the mulch to trap moisture in the soil from the start.

–        Apply about a 2 inch depth of mulch to planting beds to reap all the benefits mulch has to offer for your garden.  And remember the finer the mulch, the quicker it will naturally break down. This may require the frequency of application to increase.

And finally remember the cost of the material is inexpensive, but it is a time consuming task so set aside a good amount of time to complete the installation.  Or you can hire someone, like Lazar Landscape, to haul and install mulch to your planting beds for an instant improvement in your garden!