Mulching in Summer
Keeping your lawn in tip-top shape may be hard, but it’s very rewarding. To keep their garden in the best health, gardeners re-mulch their yard. In fact, aside from composting, mulching is a gardener’s closest friend. Doing this periodically will reap huge benefits and can keep your plants thriving and happy.
Mulch are sheets of material or loose coverings placed on the surface of the soil. It is done to suppress weeds, save water, and enhance the soil quality around plants. It also gives your lawn a neat appearance! Done properly, mulching cuts down the time it takes to weed, water, and combat pests.
Mulching is one of the best things you can do for your lawn. The advantages of mulching include:
- Significant weed prevention
- Retains an even soil temperature
- Limits soil erosion
- Retains soil moisture
- Decreases the need to use chemicals
- Boosts the soil’s nutrient intake
- Enhances your lawn’s overall appearance and health
What mulch should I use?
Consider your soil conditions. Organic mulch remains a popular choice. Not only is it biodegradable, it also enhances the soil quality as it directs the nutrients to the roots.
Here are some examples of organic mulch:
- Leaf mulch
- Pea straw
- Bark mulch
- Grass clippings
- Wood chips
- Chopped leaves
- Pine needles
Inorganic mulches include landscape fabrics, crushed stone or brick chips, and black plastic. Both kinds of mulches discourage weed growth, however, organic mulches can do much more – they enrich the soil. This doesn’t mean that inorganic mulch is not a good option. For example, black plastic is oftentimes used to warm the soil at night, helping keep heat-loving veggies like cherry tomatoes and eggplants cozy.
When should I apply mulch?
Mulches are best applied from mid spring to summer. They can be applied to established beds, new plantings, and specimen plants. You can mulch your new plantings at any time of the year, and they will surely benefit from moisture retention and weed suppression.
- Apply biodegradable or organic mulches at least 2-3 inches thick. When mulching in summer, apply a thinner layer, around 2 inches.
- Planting through mulch sheets when creating new beds is effective.
- Mulch specimen shrubs and single trees to the radius of the canopy.
- Trim the edges or create an edge for the mulching area. You may use stones to help stabilize the mulch.
- Add a nitrogen-rich fertilizer before mulching, especially if you are going to use organic mulch.
- After removing weeds, lay the mulch over moist soil.
- Shovel a small amount at a time. Start small, because dumping mulch in a small area at once might suffocate the plants.
- Finally, spread out the mulch. You may use a rake or your hands to spread, and be sure to keep a gap between the trunks or stems to give your plants some room to breathe.
“Mulching Tips and Tricks Every Gardener Should Know,” BHG, https://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/mulch/the-best-mulches/
“Types of Mulch: Advantages and Disadvantages of Mulching,” The Old Farmer’s Almanac, https://www.almanac.com/news/gardening/gardening-advice/mulching-guide-benefits-mulch
“To Mulch or Not to Mulch – Mulching Advice and Tips,” Just Lawnmowers, https://www.justlawnmowers.co.uk/blog/mulching-advice-tips/