Adding mulch to your garden and flower beds is a great way to add color and give landscaping a beautiful, polished look; however, mulch has many other benefits and is considered to be one of a gardener’s best friends.
Here are some benefits of mulch that you may not know:
Cuts Down on Watering
Garden mulch helps soil retain moisture by protecting the top layers of soil from the sun’s heat, so you’ll spend less time watering your garden and more time enjoying it.
Protects Soil from Erosion
Covering the top layer of soil with mulch protects the soil from eroding and/or compacting during periods of heavy rain and wind so the soil stays light and fluffy promoting healthy root systems.
Since the sunlight can’t reach weed seeds, they won’t germinate. While blown in weeds can still settle in the mulch and sprout, they will be much easier to pull.
Keeps Plants from Freezing
Mulch protects your perennials from winter chill and frost heave, which occurs when soil freezes and thaws pushing perennial crowns out of the soil and exposing them to dangerous temperatures.
Since plant diseases can start in the soil and spread to plants through raindrops splashing onto leaves, a layer of mulch acts as a buffer between plant leaves and soil.
How to Apply
In colder regions, you’ll want to mulch in late spring after the soil has warmed but before the heat of summer. Spread mulch in a 2-3” thick layer around your plants. Use a thinner layer—as heavier soil retains moisture. You’ll also want to apply additional mulch around roses or other tender perennials in late fall, after the ground freezes. In warmer regions or areas with sandy soil, apply mulch in the early spring before the summer heat arrives. You’ll want to use a thicker layer since soil dries out quickly. Avoid piling mulch against plant stems or tree trunks as it can block air circulation.