Mulch is an incredibly useful and multi-functional landscaping product. Mulch protects your plants all year long through the winter cold as well as from the blazing summer heat. Although it is most popular in decorative gardens, mulch can be functional in vegetable gardens as well because it prevents fruits from getting spoiled by keeping them up off the ground. No matter the type of garden, it suppresses weed growth, sustains moisture, reduces soil erosion, and prevents pests and diseases from attacking your plants.
Not only is it a great way to protect plants, mulch has a myriad of aesthetic advantages. It puts the finishing touch on any garden or landscape design. A layer of mulch gives your garden a neat, polished appearance and elevates your home’s curb appeal.
Choosing a Color to Accent Your Home
The first step in choosing a mulch to protect your garden is choosing a color. Mulch is most frequently available in black, brown, and red. The right color for you will depend on your personal preference as well as on the style of home. You might want the color to contrast with your garden plants or to compliment the color of your home.
Brown or red mulch is preferable if there are brightly colored flowers in your garden.
Red mulch is a great accent for landscaping the garden of a brick home.
If your home is contemporary or gray, black mulch is the right choice. It stands out around green vegetation and dark colored flowers.
Using Mulch in a Raised Garden Bed
If you have a raised garden bed, put a soaker hose among the plants and use a layer of mulch to protect your plants. Use a landscaping materials calculator, like this one, to help you determine the amount of mulch you need. Calculate the length, width and the appropriate depth of your mulch layer.
A typical garden needs a 3-inch layer of mulch. On the other hand, a new garden will require weed preventative or landscaping fabric. Afterwards, fill it with garden soil and then top it with the mulch color of your choice.
How to Mulch
- Spread a 2 to 3-inch-thick layer of mulch. Soil that drains slowly only requires 1 to 2 inches while soil that drains fast (typically more sandy soil) needs 4 inches.
- Always avoid applying a very thick layer of mulch to prevent diseases, pests, and root rot.
- Spread mulch past the point where the farthest edge of the leaves or vegetation is.
- After application, water the mulch, since dry mulch can absorb soil moisture.
- Mulch can be applied any time of the year, regardless of the weather. In cold weather, apply mulch on frozen ground to better protect plants.
- To insulate the soil against extreme summer heat, apply mulch in late spring soon after the soil is warm. You should occasionally check mulch thickness and refresh it when needed.
- While spreading mulch, keep it at least one foot away from the trunk of a tree and one inch away from the base of a perennial plant to ward off pests and rot.
If you’re planning to tidy up your garden and simultaneously protect it, mulch is a great option.