Mulch | Benefits of Using mulch

It is early Spring, and from now until the end of the Fall, landscapers and home owners like to spread mulch around trees, and along planting beds. It is beneficial for trees and shrubs, only if it is done properly. A common mistake is to pile mulch against tree trunks.

Benefits of using mulch

Too much mulch and the roots will grow up looking for air and moisture, producing a secondary root system that encircles the main stem strangling the plant. This process takes several years, but ultimately it will kill the tree. The proper way to do mulching is to spread approximately 3″ of mulch out to the edge of a tree’s crown or beyond, avoiding the mulch from being in contact with the tree trunk.  

Mulching helps reducing soil moisture loss through evaporation. It also helps control weed germination and growth, because it keeps the soil temperature cooler, so weed germination is delayed. Weeding is needed on a regular basis after mulching. Mulch also insulates the soil, protecting roots from extreme winter and summer temperatures. It keeps moisture available to the plant in the summer, and in most cases depending of the air temperature, in the winter, it insulates the root system from totally freezing.

What is he right way to mulch trees?

Roots will grow up looking for air and moisture, producing a secondary root system that encircles the main stem strangling the plant. This process will take several years, but ultimately it will kill the tree. The proper way to do mulching is to spread approximately 3″ of mulch out to the edge of a tree’s crown or beyond, avoiding the mulch from being in contact with the tree trunk.

Mulching helps reducing soil moisture loss through evaporation. It also helps control weed germination and growth, because it keeps the soil temperature cooler, so weed germination is delayed. Weeding will still be needed on a regular basis after mulching. It also insulates the soil, protecting roots from extreme winter and summer temperatures. It will keep moisture available to the plant in the summer, and in most cases depending of the air temperature, in the winter, it will insulate the root system from totally freezing.

Why Mulch is good

Mulch will improve soil fertility as certain mulch types (bark, leaves, hay…) decompose. Microbiology will decompose the mulch. Sometimes you can see some of the fungi when they decompose the organic material.

mulch

Fungal mycelium

Here you can see how Fungal Mycelium is having a great time producing available nutrients for the plant. When you rake your yard, maybe under some wet leaves, or under the wood chips. Sometimes you can find what it looks like a white spider web. That is a good sign of a healthy garden. All that mulching done in the Spring and Fall will improve soil biology and soil structure.

Bottom line; Keep a healthy lawn and garden. And if you want to feed and fertilize your trees, what a better way to do it than by mulching your trees and planting beds. And remember not to pile it against the tree trunk!

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Mulch | Benefits of Using mulch
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Mulch | Benefits of Using mulch
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Spread approximately 3" of mulch out to the edge of a tree’s crown or beyond, avoiding the mulch from being in contact with the tree trunk.
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J Gil Organic
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3 thoughts on “Mulch | Benefits of Using mulch

  • I didn’t realize there were so many benefits to using mulch. I just always thought it looked great in landscaping. I didn’t know it could help retain moisture in the ground. I love that it helps keep the weeds down.

  • My wife and I have been doing some landscaping around the yard and someone suggested that we try using mulch. You mentioned mulching helps reducing soil moisture loss through evaporation. I didn’t realize there were other benefits besides aesthetics when it came to mulch. Do most landscape companies offer different types of mulch? Are some more beneficial than others?

    • Most landscaping companies will use whatever is available in their area. I only use aged mulch, like hemlock. I personally avoid mulch with added dye. The reason is because the dyes used in coloring bark mulch are usually applied to the recycled waste wood used for making landscape mulch products, such as wood pallets, reclaimed lumber, old fences… and those can be contaminated with creosote and chromated copper arsenate, both highly toxic for me, my kids, pets and the environment.

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