WYNTK: Mulching- When, Where, Why, How & How Much?
While there’s no question that mulching isn’t rocket science, most people are surprised to learn there’s a bit more to it than they may realize. That’s why we’re answering all of the questions you may have about mulch including how and when it should be done. After all, any time that you are investing in a professional service, you want to get the most out of it with best practices being utilized.
When Should Mulching be Performed?
To answer this question, you should know that it’s not as much that there’s a wrong time to mulch—it’s more that you get the most benefits if you consider timing. In Florida, fall is the best time to mulch in order to get the maximum benefit.
Fall into winter—is the time of year that plants need protection from water loss due to evaporation. Fall is also the time of year when a lot of our Florida properties want colorful seasonal installations completed. The mulch will not only protect these plants’ fragile roots and help limit evaporation, but it will also serve as an aesthetic complement to the landscape. The flowers’ bright colors will really pop against the dark mulch.
Where and Why is Mulching Done?
Mulch can be added to plant beds or tree rings for both the aesthetic appeal as well as the practical benefits. Although most people think of mulch mostly in terms of the look, there really are important functional reasons to consider mulching. We already mentioned that installing a layer of mulch can prevent evaporation. Mulch helps to retain moisture beneath the surface so that it can be used by your plants’ roots.
Mulch can also assist in weed suppression. Because new weed seeds require soil to grow, mulch provides a barrier that prevents them from reaching that soil level. As far as weed seeds that are already in your plant beds, mulch will help block access to sunlight.
Mulch breaks down over time and naturally adds beneficial nutrients into our sandy soils. Breakdown of mulch adds organic matter to the soil allowing for better nutrient uptake for healthier plants. Keeping your plants material producing vigorous growth.
Finally, mulch can also act as an insulator. It can help the soil to maintain a steady temperature, protecting plants from extremes.
How is Mulching Performed?
How mulching is done is also important. Mulching certainly isn’t tremendously complex, but you might be surprised to learn there are some mulching errors that can not only limit the benefits—but potentially cause problems. One of the most common mulching mistakes is over mulching. We’ve written more about the bad habit of over mulching here, but to sum it up, excessive mulch can become waterlogged, it won’t break down, and it can actually start to harm your plants rather than help them.
Of course, over mulching is not the only potential error. It’s also possible to under mulch. Failing to apply a thick enough layer will not give you all of the benefits that we’ve discussed such as adequate insulation and successful weed suppression.
Another common mulching mistake is to use a subpar mulch product. The truth is, all mulches are not created equal. You want a high-quality mulch that’s going to hold up to our extreme weather conditions and be able to provide you with ample benefits.
How Much Mulch Should be Applied?
As we’ve mentioned, there is such a thing as too much mulch—as well as too little mulch. So, what’s the right amount? The exact answer will depend on your specific plant beds and site conditions but on average, most beds need somewhere between 2 to 3 inches of mulch per year to get all of the benefits.
Are There Alternatives to Mulch?
We do sometimes get asked about mulch alternatives. If you’re looking for a totally low maintenance option, the landscaping stone can be used in your plant beds. However, stone can make it really difficult for a lot of plant types to grow and thrive. That’s because instead of acting as a natural insulator (as mulch does), stone can really heat up and make the soil temperatures even hotter.
Stone also fails to provide the nutrient benefits that mulch can provide as it breaks down. It may be a maintenance-free option that doesn’t require replacing, but it’s not going to provide any benefit to the health of your plant beds.
Choosing a Company to Set you Up for Success
As you can see, there’s a bit more to mulching than you may have realized. That’s why it’s important to choose a company that can offer you peace of mind that mulching will be performed properly. After all, if you’re investing in professional mulching, you deserve to reap all of the benefits.
In the end, you want your mulched areas to look great and function optimally. At Estate Landscaping, we can help set you up for success.
For more information on how Estate Landscaping can take care of your landscaping needs, give us a call at (239) 498-1187, or Contact Us.
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