Tips for landscape your mulch beds

Spring is here and if you’re like us, you’re ready to get outside and enjoy your beautiful landscaping and mulch beds. One of the best projects to start the season with is putting on that fresh layer of mulch—a clean start to your landscape. Here are some tips for freshening up your beds and explaining the benefits of mulch in the landscape.

Why Mulch is a Good Thing

Nothing gives your garden a better start to the season than a fresh layer of mulch. Not only does it create a new, cleaner look, but it also creates a healthier, lower-maintenance garden. Some benefits of mulch are well known, for suppressing weeds and conserving moisture. Illness? It does this by preventing microbes from spurting out of the soil. And many mulches, like the popular hardwood mulches, keep the soil cooler in the summer and protect against temperature extremes year-round. Mulch also reduces unhealthy soil compaction by directing foot traffic away from the plants

Before Applying Mulch

To really get your landscape beds off to a great start to the season, there are a few things you should start with. Hemming the edges of flower beds will do wonders for creating a cleaner, more attractive landscape. To create healthier soil for your plants, you can also add a layer of compost before adding your mulch. And you don’t even have to plow it: the worms in your soil can do that work for you. Go ahead and prune back old growth from your perennials. And if you haven’t already, now is the time to add some pre-emergence to keep weeds at bay.

Choosing the right mulch

To improve plant health, we recommend using organic mulch such as hardwood, cedar, or cypress rather than inorganic options such as plastic, landscape fabric, or stone. You can also use straw, grass clippings, or shredded leaves in your garden. Sarah Browning of Nebraska Extension says wood mulches are a particularly good choice for gardens because they are attractive and resist compaction into a dense layer like grass clippings. This is important to allow water and air to enter the soil – essential components for good plant health.

Tips for applying your mulch

We recommend applying a 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch, but no more. Deeper down, mulch can prevent water and air from getting into the soil. Mulching can also encourage shrubs to root in the mulch layer, where they may be subject to damage. You should also keep the mulch at least an inch or two away from the stems of your plants. A small breathing space allows for good air circulation around the plant, preventing disease and deterring rodents and harmful insects from visiting plants.

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