Mulch is an essential part of any landscaping project. It serves as the ground cover to protect the soil, which holds all the nutrients and moisture that your plants need to grow and thrive.
The earliest use of mulch, documented in medieval times, was to protect recently planted bushes and trees from harsh weather conditions. This mulch was typically some sort of straw or dried leaves. These days, it is important to buy mulch that fits with your landscape and project. There are many different varieties of natural and synthetic mulches available today. These vary by aesthetic, seasonal and project type, but in general, all mulches serve three purposes:
- To reduce weed growth and maintain a well-tended landscape
- To protect against extreme cold and heat
- To improve soil water retention and reduce moisture evaporation
Some mulch varieties also help to build up the quality of the soil, improving the nutrient density for current and future plantings. Many types of mulch also help to prevent soil erosion and may protect from certain types of pests or disease.
Applying Mulch to a Landscape
Mulch is generally placed everywhere that plants are not located. Plants are placed directly in the dirt, then mulch is placed around the plants to protect the roots as well as between plants to keep weeds from coming up. Mulch serves as the ground cover for a landscape, which is why it is important to make the right choice.
Types of Mulch
No single mulch will serve for all purposes. Some mulches are better for some purposes and locations than others.
The main distinction when looking to buy mulch is whether you want a summer or winter mulch.
Summer mulches, also known as growing mulches, are designed to keep the soil at the ideal temperature to foster growth, to manage weed growth and keep unwanted plants out of the garden, and to provide great moisture retention to make sure that plants get all the water they need.
Winter mulches, on the other hand, are primarily used to insulate perennial plants. The point is to keep the soil temperature warm enough so that the perennials can last the winter even if there is snow cover.
Depending on the type of landscape you are cultivating, different types of mulch may be more ideal. For instance, straw and black plastic mulch are used in vegetable gardens, wood chips or bark chunks are often used around trees or other woody plants, and fine mulches such as shells, hulls, granules or shavings are often used around perennial plants.
How to Buy Mulch
You can buy mulch of various types, shapes and sizes. Certain colors may be a better fit for the overall landscape. Ask the Milwaukee Mulch Man at Melvin Mulch about choosing the right mulch. Buying the right mulch may make all the difference in your garden’s overall health and well-being.