What Mulch Does for Your Landscape

Landscaping mulch

Have you ever wondered why we use mulch?  It can seem like an awful lot of work…and wasn’t always the norm.  However, as more people started to put more emphasis on planting flowers and shrubs, commercially prepared mulches became a fixture in most homeowners’ yards, and for good reason.

Mulch can ensure the health of your yard, by performing these important functions:

Mulch cools the earth around your plants.  Protecting the root system for your plants and shrubs is critical.  Mulch protects the ground around your plants from the sun’s harsh rays, lowering the temperature of the soil by a few critical degrees.

Mulch keeps your plants and shrubs alive during the winter. The same insulating properties that mulch has in the summer also help your plants in the winter.  Instead of lowering the temperature, the mulch keeps the ground warmer, shielding them from harsh freezing water.

Mulch nourishes your soil.  If you choose organic mulch made from natural substances such as wood chips or bark, it will slowly and naturally decompose into the soil underneath it.  That decomposition supplies near-continuous fertilizer for the plant’s nourishment.

Mulch can repel bugs.  But only if you choose the right type.  Some mulch comes treated with super fertilizers such as Miracle-Gro and bug repellents.  As they decompose, they continue to provide protection for your plants.  However, it is important to note that mulch can also promote bugs, especially termites if it is not properly applied.  Wood mulch piled up over 3 inches, or puddled next to the house and over top of a naturally wet or swampy area, will attract termites to the foundation of your home.  It is worth raking your mulch and inspecting the soils around your plants around once a month, just to ensure it stays properly aerated.

Mulch prevents weeds.  Especially if you use landscape cloth underneath your mulch, your mulching will completely arrest the growth of weeds, and save you hours of weed pulling on your spare time.

Mulch improves the structure and attractiveness of your landscape.  Mulch prevents erosion by continuous decomposition, which builds up the level of soil around your plants.  It is also hard to argue with the impact mulch can have on the attractiveness of your landscape.  It makes your planting area look bright and neat – and your house looks like a home.

Mulch is far more than just a decoration. It can be the one most important thing you can do to have a healthy landscape.