Mulching For Healthier and Attractive Flower Beds
Proper mulching results in healthier, more attractive and, in some cases, better producing flower beds. Organic mulches, such as wood chips, pine needles or cocoa hulls, look best in most ornamental plantings and can provide more benefits than inorganic options, such as plastic or fabric. Proper application and maintenance further ensures the bed receives the maximum coverage.
Mulch smothers weeds when used properly. A 3-inch mulch layer prevents sunlight from reaching weed seeds in the soil, reducing the chances of germination. Any seedlings that survive often die before they breach the mulch layer. What few weeds do invade usually pull up easily because they aren’t receiving enough sunlight to produce long anchoring roots. Organic mulches suppress up to 75 percent of weeds, according to Northcoast Gardening. Using a weed blocking fabric beneath an organic mulch layer can prevent nearly all weeds.
The top layer of garden soil can bake in the sun, especially during the hot, sunny weather. Frequent watering prevents this problem, but much of the moisture is lost to evaporation. Mulch slows down evaporative water loss and keeps more moisture in the soil near plant roots. A suitable layer can reduce irrigation needs so flower beds only require one or two deep waterings a week instead of daily watering. Since the top of the soil is protected, it doesn’t develop a hard crust, which prevents moisture from soaking in when you do water or when it rains.
Early spring applications of mulch can help keep the soil cool into summer, extending the season for flower varieties that prefer cooler soil. Applications after the soil warms helps maintain warm soil temperatures for heat-loving flowers. Mulch also insulates perennial plant roots during winter. It protects the roots from winter temperature fluctuations and light frosts that can kill more tender plants.
As mulch breaks down and decomposes, it leeches nutrients into the soil. Usually old mulch isn’t removed from the bed. Instead, a fresh layer is added on top when necessary so the old mulch can continue to feed the soil. You can till old mulch into annual beds before planting, if preferred, where it can improve the organic structure of the soil.
A well-mulched flower bed looks neater and more pulled together compared to one with bare soil. Mulch can fill in between newly planted flowers until they grow and spread over the bed on their own. The mulch also provides a demarcation between the flower bed and surrounding lawn from splashing up onto foliage and petals when you water, so plants, instead of mud splatters, remain the focal point.
Mulch blown in by C&R Tractor’s highly skilled operators has a smooth, consistent finish unattainable by any other method of application. The overall beauty of your entire landscape will be enhanced by the velvety, manicured finish our operators apply to every project we do. When C&R Tractor’s crew is finished, your landscape will look its absolute best!