Advantages to Mulching
Advantages to Mulching
There are many advantages of using all natural mulch to blanket soil around trees, shrubs, and perennial plants. Mulch definitely makes a big difference because it moderates soil temperature and makes a more favorable environment for roots. It also reduces evaporation of moisture helping to conserve water, reduces splashing from rain or irrigation water, reduces the spread of disease, and blocks the germination of many weed seeds. In addition, mulch gives your garden a much more finished look while helping to prevent soil compaction, provides protection to shrubs and trees from lawn equipment damage and as quality hardwood mulches decompose; they naturally provide the soil with organic matter.
We carry a variety of bark and wood mulches which can be purchased by bag or in bulk. Texture, color, type, and function are all factors to consider as you decide which is right for you. A long-lasting Color Enhanced hardwood bark mulch is a wise choice to cover the area around trees and shrubs. GMM’s Forrest Fines and Midi mulches are a popular choice for flower beds because they hold up well for the growing season then provide organic matter to the soil which provides the ideal environment for many other beneficial soil organisms.
Wood and Bark Mulch
Most experts agree that bark mulch is slower to decompose, fade, and will have less insect damage. Avoid adding fresh sawdust to your garden soil because sawdust can create a nitrogen deficiency as it breaks down. Wood brush mulches can too, but are less likely to create a problem since they decompose much more slowly and because they are on top of the soil. If your plants do show any signs of nitrogen deficiency, however, add a 2-1-1- ratio fertilizer such as 20-10-10 before mulching.
Prices vary depending on the specific type of mulch, any transportation costs, and any promotions that may be running. In general, expect to pay anywhere from $3.00+ per 2-cubic-foot bag, to $4.25+ per 3-cubic-foot bag. Buying in bulk saves money, but you’ll need to have your own truck or trailer. One pickup truck, depending on bed size, can hold from 1-2 cubic-yards. Prices start around $23.00 per cubic yard.
Mulching Your Plants
Apply 3-4 inches each season after removing any mulch that remains from last season. Coarser textured mulches can be applied more heavily. There are exceptions, however, depending on what and where you are planting. Mulching too heavily will reduce air circulation in the soil which will keep your plants from growing. Also, do not pile mulch around the main stem of a plant where it enters the soil because it needs air and light to grow. Too much mulch too close can create added moisture and an insect haven that could damage the plant you’re trying to help. Be sure to spread the mulch so that it covers the “dripline” (the area directly under the plant’s circumference). Remember; if the mulch is hot to touch, than let it cool down before spreading around your plants.
Annuals and Perennials
To avoid encouraging stem rot diseases, use a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around soft-stemmed annuals and perennials. Keep about 2 inches around the stems base free of mulch.
Trees, Shrubs, and Vines
Crowding mulch around the base of the plant, even the older ones with thick bark, is harmful. Even though stem rot is possible, most established trees, shrubs, and vines won’t succumb as quickly as soft-stemmed perennials. Don’t make your tress look like they have small mulch volcano at the bottom.
Vegetable gardeners usually prefer to use mulches that decompose more rapidly such as GMM’s Forrest Fines. Avoid using grass clippings, though. Experts advise leaving these in the lawn after mowing to build a lush and weed-free lawn. Because vegetables grow fast, they like optimum soil conditions.
Which mulch you choose depends on the site:
Areas Prone to Flooding: Choose coarse particle mulch such as GMM Natural Hardwood that will be more likely to stay in place.
Slopes: On steep slopes, shredded mulch is best and hardwoods hold better than softwoods. However, hardwoods mulch tends to break down faster than softwood and may need to be reapplied sooner.
Pathways: For easiest walking, use GMM Sof-Step which provides a soft and springy surface. Shredded bark mulch will also work.
Playgrounds & Jogging trails: GMM Sof-Step is tested and meets ASTM and ADA standards.
To measure the yardage of mulch you will need to cover a 100 square foot area / providing you are spreading it at 3 inches deep, use the following guideline: Length x Width x Depth (convert inches to feet by dividing depth by 12), then divide that total by 27. Best to round up to the next whole number – Example: 10x10x.25 = 25 divided by 27 = .93 – you would need 1 yard of bulk mulch.
Remember Mulch depth (must first be converted into inches)
- At a 4 inch depth / .34 • At 7 inch depth / .59
- At a 3 inch depth / .25 • At 6 inch depth /.50
- At a 2 inch depth / .17 • At 5 inch depth /.42