Mulch is such an integral part of gardening, and our customers are always asking about what material works best as mulch. In the picture above, we are using pruning clippings as a mulch for the front of our nursery. We use this organic mulch as a base and top dress with straw to make it pretty. It cuts down on the amount of topdressing we have to use, thus saving us money. There are many materials available for mulch such as pine straw, pine bark, leaves, cypress mulch, and more. It does not matter which type of organic material that you use for mulch, but it is important to understand the reasons for maintaining an adequate mulch around all of your garden plants.
An adequate layer of mulch in our area is usually around 3-4 inches in thickness. If your mulch is very thin or beginning to thin out, it is a good idea to thicken the mulch up by adding extra material. Mulch helps to keep weeds under control by creating a barrier between the soil surface and potential weed seed that may be present. In addition, mulch helps to conserve moisture in the soil by providing a top layer that will minimize drying of the soil from the sun and wind. Mulch helps to keep the soil a more even temperature year-round. It makes the soil warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Also, mulch provides a layer of organic material that will slowly break down and provide an ideal environment for feeder root development near the surface of the plants.
Maintaining an adequate mulch around your plants is a vital part of gardening.
By Debbie Odom