Why Mulch in the Winter?

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snow covered plants 300x194Gardeners know why they mulch in the growing season. Mulch keeps the ground cool during the hot months, helps retain moisture and smothers weeds. As organic mulch breaks down, it puts nutrients into the soil. But why would anyone mulch around a plant or tree during the winter when nothing much is happening? Here are some reasons:

Protection From the Weather

People mulch in the winter for much the same reason they mulch in spring and summer. The mulch protects the roots of the plant from the weather. Mulch regulates the temperature of the soil during the winter and prevents frost heaving. This is when the soil freezes and thaws and actually lifts the top of the roots out of the ground. This exposes them to frost, which can kill the plant even if the rest of the plant can stand a bit of frost. If the area gets a lot of rain in the winter, mulch keeps the soil from being washed away. Mulch also keeps a plant dormant by keeping the ground cold during a warm snap. Mulch applied in late winter also stops weed seeds from sprouting in the spring. Continue reading

Landscaping With Mulch vs. Stone

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hardwood bark mulch hand 300x200The Midwest experiences a range of seasons throughout the year. By the time the summer and fall comes around, the outdoor landscape has gone through substantial weathering due to temperature and precipitation. If a property was built on a foundation like clay, the grass may be under water during rainy parts of the year, or the substantial rain we just had. Deciding on whether to use wood mulch or stone for landscaping largely depends on the goals for the end result and the nature of the property.

Typically, mulch bark is useful for the health and stability of flowerbeds, while stone can be a nice cosmetic for walkways. However, landscaping goals aren’t always that cut and dry, so to speak. Budget will play a factor in the choice between stone and mulch, as well as environmental factors such as direct sunlight.

stone bark autumn smoke hand 300x200Stone costs are much higher than mulch. The landscape can be a diverse mixture of the two choices. While both are effective at controlling weeds, mulch bark will also help to regulate the soil temperature and maintain flower beds throughout the year’s season changes. Stones may require slightly less maintenance, especially if a weed cloth is used underneath them to keep them from sinking down – as in the case of a walkway with regular pressure from traffic. Continue reading

Using Mulch to Save Water in Home Landscaping

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sprinkler watering the grass 300x225Landscaping and gardening around your home is a wonderful way to improve its aesthetic appeal. Unfortunately, there is often a lot of maintenance required to keep plants, trees and shrubs watered during the hotter months of the year. One way to prevent the need for continuously watering and cleaning the garden or landscape is to make use of bark mulch. Mulch is an ideal addition to any home or business garden and has a myriad of benefits that will not only save you time, but save water and money as well.

How it Saves Water

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How Garden Mulch Promotes a Healthy Garden

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purple azalea flowers with garden mulch 300x200If you have a garden or plan to start one, you are likely wondering what you can do to improve the quality and health of your garden, which is understandable. You can take several steps to reach your goal, but not all of the things you will try are equal. Adding the right garden mulch to your soil will give you plenty of great benefits if you are serious about getting the most from your effort. You will be thrilled as soon as you see the difference. Review the following top advantages you can get when you use mulch so that you can choose the path that makes sense for you.

Mulch Combats Weeds

Weeds are a common enemy of those who enjoy growing gardens in their yards, causing several issues you need to address if you don’t wish to face unneeded threats. Inability to control and combat a weed problem will destroy your progress and harm your results. Weeds will steal sunlight from your flowers or vegetables, but they will also consume nutrients and cause other issues you want to avoid. You can buy mulch if you would like a safe and effective way to fight weeds and keep them at bay. Once your plants sprout, spread a 2-inch layer of mulch on your soil to enjoy the benefits, and the weeds won’t have a chance. Your garden mulch will stop them from getting sunlight, doing wonders to keep them out of your garden for good. Continue reading

Mulch vs. Stone: A Landscaping Debate

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When landscaping, there are many options available to those looking to spruce up their yards. One common dilemma is whether to use stone or mulch in non-lawn areas. Both come in an array of styles and colors and have benefits to both gardening and the yard’s aesthetics. For example, both rock and mulch areas tend to inhibit weeds, reducing maintenance needs. However, there are some differences, other than mere appearances, that should be considered to pick the perfect material for your project. Continue reading

Why You Should Mulch Your Garden in Spring

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green grass next to bark mulch 300x225Every year, at least 117 million U.S. citizens participate in spring gardening activities of some kind. Unfortunately, many gardeners neglect to mulch their plants when preparing their soil beds. Here are just a few of the great things that a quality bark mulch can do for your garden.

Promote Vigorous Seedling Growth

As you’re no doubt aware, seedlings are incredibly vulnerable during their first few weeks of life. A solid layer of mulch will support seedlings as they put down roots and prevent them from being damaged by strong winds, hard rains and damage from wildlife. Continue reading

How Vital Is Winter Mulch For Protecting Your Plants?

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hens and chicks on snowy rock wall 233x300Whatever the climate, mulching is essential for new shrubs and trees. Mulch is a layer of material placed on top of the soil surface to conserve moisture and hold down weeds. It shelters plants during the winter by reducing the hazards of freezing and thawing. The abrupt warm interlude followed by the usual cold temperature damages plant roots that leads to plant damage. Mulch improves soil structure as it decomposes.

Here are some tips for people who are not yet too familiar with the use of mulch that protects plants until they become dormant: Continue reading

Natural Alternatives To Beautify Your Yard

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landscape stone edging 300x224If you can’t bear the thought of planting new flower beds or another round of weeding the garden, turn to mulch and stone as an alternative. These natural alternatives beautify your garden or landscape and benefit its health.

Mulch and Stone Benefits

Perhaps you think only plantings can bring new life to your yard, but mulch and stone can do the same. The benefits of these choices include:
* lending a variety of colors to the landscape,
* providing various complimentary sizes and shapes,
* improving drainage and appropriately channeling runoff water,
* creating an activity space,
* reducing yard maintenance. Continue reading

How Much Mulch for Healthy Plants?

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low level shot of garden mulch 300x170New gardeners sometimes buy mulch without calculating how much they need to use, but that’s a mistake. Buying too much is wasteful, but buying too little is even worse because a healthy supply of mulch is vital for plant growth. Deciding how much mulch to use can be challenging, since it will depend on the type of mulch and the style of gardening that you use, but it’s worth taking the time to get it right. Continue reading

Five Factors to Weigh When Selecting Landscape Stone

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granite boulders 4 8 inch 300x200When it comes to landscaping, stone offers both beauty and practicality. What factors should you weigh when selecting landscape stone for your outdoor living space?

1. Aesthetics

Whether you’re constructing a specific space like a walkway, patio or driveway, framing landscaping beds with stone borders to draw the eye to the natural beauty within them, or using stone to thwart weeds as an alternative to more traditional mulches, you’ll want an appealing look. Stone is available in an extensive range of colors, sizes and textures, and sheer volume of design options is rather impressive. When choosing a stone, consider which qualities will best suit the look of your home. Should you keep it simple with one type of stone or mix it up to produce decorative patterns? Personal preference is the primary influence when it comes to aesthetics. Continue reading