Mulching is an essential step in establishing and/or maintaining a healthy and beautiful landscape. It can be done once in the spring, once in the fall or in both the spring and fall. Regardless of timing, you must be sure of one very important rule:
Never have more than three inches of mulch at any given time.
Deeper layers of mulch may provide greater weed suppression, but can also lead to plant decline. Deep layers of mulch also can lead to wet, poorly aerated soil underneath. In addition, piling mulch up against the trunk of a tree can cause rotting of the bark if the trunk stays moist. If you are re-mulching an existing landscape, remember to use a shallow layer so as not to build up the mulch layer above a 3 inch depth.
Below we have listed a few reasons you should include mulching as part of your yearly landscape maintenance schedule:
1. Mulches are useful in landscapes for moisture conservation, appearance, surface insulation (i.e. moderates temperature extremes) and the added benefit of weed control. A three inch layer of mulch is ideal.
2. Mulches aid in amending the soil. As organic mulches break down, they become good growing media. You can actually till organic mulches into the soil when renovating your landscape, which will benefit the soil by introducing organic matter.
3. Mulch also increases water absorption/retention and helps to prevent soil compaction and improve aeration in the planting area.
4. Last but not least, mulching is used to beautify the garden. Mulching makes surfaces more attractive, usable and of course, easier to maintain.