For the benefit of your agriculture or gardening activity, you should know how to put down mulch. One of the primary purposes of using mulch is to serve as a protective covering over the soil surface so that the desired moisture level is retained. Generally, mulch suppresses weed growth, reduces erosion, and provides nutrients. You can use either organic mulch, man-made mulch, or inorganic mulch. If you are on a tight budget or unwilling to spend more for mulch, you can use collected autumn leaves as mulch.
Using the appropriate mulch can conserve water. It protects the roots of the plants from excessive temperature and enhances the soil quality. If you want to add color, beauty, and texture to the spaces between flowers and plants, use decorative mulch. Putting down mulch is pretty easy. However, it pays to know a few more details so you can maximize its benefits. Read on below for the applicable tips.
Select an appropriate mulch material. You should consider a number of factors such as purpose, availability, biodegradability, and appearance. Is your purpose to control weeds, cover a pathway, or reduce evaporation? Check if you can use something in your yard like fallen leaves or grass clippings. If there is none, you should consider purchasing an inexpensive mulch.
Concerning the biodegradability, if you want the mulch to form part of the soil surface when it breaks down, then use bark, wood chips, or leaves (not rock, tumbled glass, rubber, or plastic). For the appearance, consider if the mulch is going to be an added feature in your landscape, or just to cover your garden patch.
Prepare the area. Before you can put down the mulch, prepare the area first. Use a string trimmer to remove weeds. Try to lay flat anything under the mulch in order to discourage weed growth. Then, dig the beds and enrich the surface of the soil. If you plan to put down a few layers of cardboard to block weeds, do it at this time.
Gather the mulch. If you want to gather mulch for free, try volunteering to take your neighbor’s lawn wastes and piles of leaves, or make your own from your garden or yard wastes. Some communities gather garden wastes and offer it to other residents as compost or mulch. If you have the money, just buy large bags of mulch from any of the nearby home centers or nurseries. If you need a bigger quantity of mulch, purchase in bulk so they can be delivered to you.
Add the appropriate amount of mulch. If your objective is to discourage weed growth and retain moisture, the depth of the mulch is very important, usually 3 to 5 inches. Avoid putting mulch against tree trunks and plant stems. Leave a 4 to 6 inch margin so that the plants can breathe. To produce an even layer, use a rake to scatter the mulch. If you want to grow something new, just remove the mulch carefully.
Renew the mulch. If you are using organic mulch, you should renew it every few years. Your other option is just to bury the mulch beneath the soil surface so it can completely decompose. Then, spread another layer of mulch. During the spring season, it is recommended that you pull back the mulch.
If you like to use organic mulches, consider that they are only temporary; over time, organic mulches decay. Common organic mulches include leaves, grass clippings, peat moss or sphagnum peat, wood chips, bark chips, cardboard, or newspaper. So far, peat moss is regarded as the most convenient and long lasting. Sometimes, it is combined with pine needles in order to create a friable mulch. Peat moss is capable of lowering the soil’s pH level, thus, it is very useful on acid-loving plants.
For flowers, shrubs, and trees, you should consider using organic mulches such as wood chips, leaves, or grass clippings. A number of materials are utilized as mulch, such as organic residues, compost, recycled tire rubber, thin plastic sheeting, rock, and gravel. If you know how to put down mulch in gardens and landscapes, you will see that mulching actually mimics the leaf covering usually seen in forests.