There’s a variety of technical reasons to mulch your Ohio landscape, but the most obvious reason is that it creates a consistent background that highlights your landscape plants. In other words, mulch is no put down because it looks pretty, but because it makes your landscape plants look better. Without those attractive plants, a bed full of mulch just looks unattractive.
Besides the aesthetic qualities of mulching your landscape, there are also numerous important technical aspects to properly applied mulch.
Here are the TOP 5 technical reasons for using mulch:
- Maintains an even soil temperature throughout the growing season, AND the rest of the year. Plant damage through the winter months occur more frequently when we go through the typical ups and down in temperatures we see here in northern Ohio. When the soil freezes and thaws frequently, root damage occurs. It’s not the freezing, but the heaving that most likely kills the plant. Mulch helps stop ease those fluctuating temperatures so that once the soil is frozen, it remains frozen, even on those winter days when the temperature goes way up above freezing.
- Mulch helps maintain an even soil moisture throughout the growing season. In the spring this isn’t so important, but as we move into late July and August, soil moisture becomes a big issue. The mulch layer helps keep that moisture level more consistent so that plants aren’t forced to go into premature dormancy.
- When applied correctly, mulch helps reduce weeds in the landscape beds. The success of keeping the weeds out is directly linked to the quality of the mulch. Quality mulch is made up of distinct chips and nuggets. Lesser quality mulches, in particular shredded-type mulches, have more fine particles that break down quickly and make an ideal growing medium for weed seeds. Because these mulches break down quickly they are better suited to landscapes where mulch is replaced yearly. Mulches with larger components break down much slower and do not need replacement as often.
- Mulching around trees and shrubs actually helps protects those plants from you— or at least from those that do the mowing. Mowing and trimming are prime causes of failed plants just from nicking the tender bark of a tree, especially in the spring. Smooth bark trees have a very thin protective bark layer that is easily damaged. Just under this thin layer is the living tissue part of the tree that moves nutrients to the upper portions of the plant. A nick in the bark cuts that pathway. Damaged trees can grow poorly and branches may die. Adding mulch around the tree and shrub keeps those mechanical threats away from the bark.
- Mulch adds lots of organic matter to the soil. Mulch is nothing more than organic fiber that’s most likely been colored to create a uniform appearance. Over the years, these fibers begin to break down into their basic component: carbon which is an essential building block for plant life.
Those are a lot of important and long lasting benefits from mulch. But remember, use quality mulch, and apply it to the correct depth which is no more than 4″. Remember not to over mulch. Check the depth of existing mulch before adding additional– too much mulch is not good and may cause more problems.
Brookside Lawn Service provides quality lawn and landscape services for much of Northern Ohio including Hinckley Ohio