Apply mulch around your trees, shrubs, vegetable plants and flower gardens, to provide ground covering to keep the soil in your beds moist. You will water less and your garden will stay free of weeds.
Using Mulch to Keep Gardens Cool and Moist
Using mulch in your garden bed and around trees will help keep your plants cool and hydrated during these hot summer months. Make sure you are using organic mulch materials since the plants receive nutrients as the mulch breaks down into the soil. Natural mulch, such as, wood chips, bark nuggets and shredded bark, are most popular. Leaves and straw are other alternatives that work as well. Avoid using rocks or gravel since they get hot in the sun and can actually cook the roots.
When mulching around trees, shrubs or along borders, use larger bark nuggets or wood chips.
For vegetable gardens, perennial or annual beds, use finer shredded mulch. The nutrients will break down more quickly into the soil!
Mulch Helps Control Weeds
Mulch can also be helpful to cut down on weeds that take water and nutrients from your plants. Mulch can help control weeds by blocking the sunlight that most weeds need to take over large surface areas. Any weeds that do appear are small enough to pull as you maintain your beds.
Tips for Applying Mulch
The most important thing to do before mulching is to clear the area around the plants and thoroughly water the beds to ensure the soil is moist.
Apply mulch 2 to 3 inches thick around trees, shrubs and vegetable plants.
For vegetable beds, you only need a thickness of 1 to 2 inches.
Keep mulch at least 4 to 6 inches away from trunks or main stems.
Maintain Your Mulch
Mulch is natural material that is meant to break down and decay overtime, releasing nutrients into the soil. It is important to rotate the mulch as you water your plants to help this process along. Replenish the mulch as the layer gets thinner.
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