Caring For Your Landscaping—Here's Something You Need Very Mulch!
Spread The News—Mulch Is a Key Ingredient In Successful Landscaping
When it comes to curb appeal, meticulously maintained beds play a starring role. That being said, there’s one important element you should never scrimp on— and that’s mulch.
Although there are several types of mulch, the organic variety tends to be the most popular among landscaping professionals. Not only is organic mulch aesthetically pleasing, it also helps with weed prevention.
In addition to looking nice, mulching around plants at the beginning of the season creates one of the best environments for growing in urban soils. One of the big advantages of using organic mulch, spread several inches thick over the entire garden bed and the base of your plants, is that it decomposes naturally, creating rich, organic matter for your soil.
In fact, studies conducted at the Morton Arboretum in Chicago have shown that microorganisms that are naturally present in the soil degrade the mulch, depositing organic material at the plant’s roots. This material delivers necessary nutrients and aides in holding moisture in the soil.
As this degraded organic mulch is incorporated into the soil, it reduces compaction significantly. Interestingly enough, excessive compaction is a common challenge in landscaping projects within the property management industry as beds are repeatedly stripped, turned and replanted for each season.
Compaction reduces air between soil particles, limiting the roots’ ability to breathe and causing stress on the plants. Trees roots can be especially prone to compaction issues which can predispose them to infections. Regularly mulching has been shown to significantly reduce compaction and can be attributed to prolonging the lifespan of your trees.
In addition to the organic variety, there are other types of mulch comprised of different materials. These include wood, straw, evergreen needles, seed hulls, such as cocoa beans and coconut husks, and compost.
Some of these materials, such as straw and wood chips take longer to decompose and consume more nitrogen thereby reducing their benefit.
Evergreen needles may acidify the soil, which can ultimately be troublesome for certain plants. Conversely, some seed hulls are toxic to pets and decompose completely in the same season, minimizing their effectiveness. Compost does little to prevent weeds and can actually encourage them!
Most experts agree that the preferred organic mulch is comprised of shredded hardwood. This product provides benefits up to three years and should be applied three inches deep around plant roots.
Your landscaping professional should monitor mulch thickness and reapply in areas where it has noticeably thinned for maximum effectives.
While investing in organic mulch for your beds might be considered expensive, it’s a worthwhile expenditure in caring for your plants and giving your property that “wow” factor every property manager is seeking.