If you haven’t placed mulch yet or have never used it, it’s not too late and you should really consider it. There are plenty of reasons to add mulch to your garden or around your trees including moisture conservation and weed suppression as well as improving bio diversity when the mulch rots and the nutrients soak into the soil. Here are some general “rules” when it comes to spreading mulch.
Mulch Around Trees
If you have just planted a tree, it will need a lot of water in the first three years. Because of the water conservation role mulch plays, spreading it around the base will help keep the area moist for the tree during tougher weather conditions; keeps the roots warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You don’t want to spread too much at the base, though. You will want to spread the mulch a couple feet around, but leave the base clear. Also, when mowing your lawn, the mulch will keep you away from the roots of the young tree as it is spreading and you don’t want some of the roots that might come above the ground to be nicked by the blade.
Mulch Around Your Garden
Worms are important for the garden. We’ve talked about this before. Mulch, while suppressing weeds and helping with water conservation is also providing our little friends with healthy soil. The nutrients from the different kinds of mulch support the habitat for the worms as well as for the plants. Mulch offers improved soil structure and drainage for the water as well. First thing’s first, though: weed before you lay down the mulch. The weeds will break through if you let them start in the soil first. When you spread the mulch, be sure to leave space around the plant crown, just like you did the base of the tree and don’t spread more than 3 inches deep. The roots need oxygen!