Beyond the fact that it looks good, mulch has very practical purposes. Mulch helps reduce weeds up to 85%. It conserves water and lends itself to erosion control. And it assists with adding nutrients to the soil as it decomposes.
It works to maintain soil temperature for optimal plant growth. Mulch can even help some plants grow faster. Therefore, it’s great to know when to mulch! There are so many benefits. LMC recommends mulching your commercial landscape in both the Fall and the Spring to optimize the benefits for your landscaping. Mulching benefits fall and winter gardens by protecting roots, preventing weeds, and nourishing the soil biome.
Perennial plants, unlike annuals, come back year after year—or they can, with the right treatment. Fall is the perfect time to give your perennials a little TLC, by adding a layer of mulch around stalks and roots. When exposed to cooler temperatures, roots that lie in the top few inches of soil can get easily stressed and frostbitten. Mulch made of finer particles like leaf compost or pine straw provide the ideal protection. These finer organic mulches normally break down more easily than coarse wood chip or bark mulches, providing essential nutrients for plants during the winter months.
As the organic matter in mulch breaks down it releases minerals and nitrogen, which enriches the soil throughout the fall and winter, and leads to healthier shoots and blooms in spring. Fall mulching also gives soil-improving earthworms and microbes added warmth and good food for the winter. In short, when you apply a layer of mulch to your bed, you’re nourishing your garden’s entire ecosystem.
One of the most detrimental effects of wintertime wind, rain, and snow is soil erosion. Mulching prevents soil erosion by forming a barrier between the topsoil and the elements. Add 2-3 inches of mulch around flower and vegetable beds as well as shrubs and trees for maximum protection.
Evergreens have a reputation for hardiness and beauty that persists all winter long. But don’t take your evergreens for granted. They can get dry and brown in the winter without proper care. To prevent browning, mulch the soil surface starting at the root flare (where the tree roots branch away from the trunk). The mulch ring should be about three or four inches deep and extend toward the edge of the tree branches. Remember to not pile mulch around trees! Very important, too much mulch can starve the roots of much needed oxygen. These “mulch volcano’s” as the industry calls it can “suffocate” a tree’s root system from getting adequate oxygen. A tree cannot survive long term without oxygen. This is often overlooked. This type of stress on a tree is a form of chronic stress and can lead to mortality if not caught in the early stages. Insect and disease issues are always secondary stressors which can severely damage or kill your tree or shrub if not tended to.
Mulch is one of the best landscape substances for growing healthy plants and conserving water. The best mulch for your yard is one created from organic sources and could include straw, bark, pine needles, leaves, and compost. They can benefit your commercial landscape by aiding in root development, preventing erosion, suppressing weeds, moderating soil temperature, and adding nutrients as they break down slowly. Mulching also helps conserve water by reducing water lost through evaporation. Mulch is a critical part of a well-maintained commercial landscape. LMC recommends mulching a property twice a year. If you have any questions about the benefits, timing, frequency, or type of mulch for your commercial property, give us a call. We are always here to discuss best practices in landscape maintenance.