Guidelines To Follow When Mulching Garden Beds

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Mulching your garden beds has all sorts of benefits. The mulch can trap moisture in the soil, helping to keep it moist for the plants. Organic mulches, like wood mulch, also break down and add nutrition to the soil. Plus, mulch helps keep weed growth at bay. Mulching garden beds is not overly complicated, but there are a few guidelines to follow as you do it.

1. Be generous

You want to be pretty generous when applying the mulch. It can be tempting to make the layer really thin in order to save mulch, but a thinly-mulched garden bed will not look nice for very long, as the mulch will be easily scattered by rain and wind. Plus, a thin layer of mulch does not do the best job of trapping moisture and blocking weed growth. You really need your mulch layer to be a few inches thick, for best results. When in doubt, add a little more.

2. Don't pile mulch against tree trunks or shrub trunks

If you have any shrubs, bushes, or decorative trees in your garden beds, be careful when mulching around them. You do not want to pile the mulch directly up against the trunks. This could trap moisture against the wood and eventually lead to rot or disease. Instead, clear a couple of inches on each side of the trunk so that it can dry out and breathe.

3. Treat weeds first

Putting mulch down on top of existing weeds won't do much to keep them from growing. A better approach is to treat the garden beds for weeds, and then apply your mulch. Pull out any obvious weeds, and also spread a layer of pre-emergent weed killer. This will keep new weeds from sprouting, which will give you more effective weed control than the mulch alone.

4. Water it in

After you spread the mulch, water it in. This will serve a couple of purposes. First, it will weigh down the mulch a little to help keep it from blowing away. Second, it will help keep your plants moist for the next couple of days, which will help them thrive.

Mulching your garden bed should not be too tough as long as you follow the guidelines above. Talk to your landscaping contractor if you have any additional questions or concerns. Most landscaping companies offer mulching services if this is not something you want to do yourself.