Maximizing the Benefits of Mulch with Proper Maintenance

Using mulch in your landscape can be an excellent way to bring in an accent color, improve your garden’s design, and maintain healthier plants. However, there are a few essential things you must do to maximize the advantages of mulch. Like most things in a garden, mulch is a living thing, and as such, it requires a little help now and then to bring out its true beauty and usefulness. Mulch maintenance is easy and cost-effective, and consistently keeping up with it will enhance the mulch benefits in your garden. Continue reading to learn about the proper care of mulch.

Mulch at the Proper Time for Maximum Benefit to the Soil

First and foremost you will receive the most benefits from mulch if you apply it to your landscape and garden beds at the proper time.  You can apply mulch anytime throughout the year, however, spring and fall are opportune times to work on your landscape.

In the spring, you will want to lay down a layer of mulch about 2”-3” thick after the soil has thawed out. If you wait until summer, the ground might already be too dry, and you will not get the level of moisture conservation you would if applied in the spring. 

You will also want to use some mulch in the fall to insulate any cold-tolerant plants during the cooler months. When you apply mulch at the proper time, you will increase its benefits to the soil and plants.

Aerate and Mix the Mulch for Better Air and Water Flow

Having applied the mulch at the best time, the next thing to do is to aerate and mix the mulch regularly.

Every few months, use a rake to mix up the mulch; this will improve the air and water flow to the soil and help deter mold from growing underneath the top layer of mulch.

Spread the Mulch Out for Healthier Trees and Shrubs

Another maintenance task we recommend is to spread out the mulch. When you apply mulch, whether it’s for the first time or you are adding to it or replacing it, make sure to keep the mulch from piling up around tree trunks and shrubs. Too much mulch near these plants can reduce air from getting to them and could attract insects or rodents.

Remove & Add Mulch for Landscape Appearance and Thriving Plants

To maximize the appearance of your landscape and the health of your plants, maintain your mulch by keeping it at a regular depth and adding fresh mulch.

Since mulch decomposes, for the maximum benefit, you should add around 1” of fresh mulch each year. When you do so, remove some of the old mulch so that you don’t have too deep of a layer. In general, you will want to keep mulch at around 2-3 inches thick, as going any deeper can cause plants to grow shallow roots.

Replace Mulch Regularly for the Best Results

The last maintenance task you should perform to achieve the maximum benefits of mulch is to consistently replace it. Replacing mulch means raking and getting rid of the old layer of mulch and laying down an entirely fresh layer; starting fresh at regular intervals can prevent rot and mold and will keep your plants healthier.

Is it time to replace your mulch? Here at McCarty Mulch & Stone, we have a large variety of choices for all your central Indiana bulk mulch needs. Shop our collection of mulches on our website today!