Adding mulch is easy to do and serves several purposes for your landscape: It reduces watering needs, blocks out weeds, holds soil in place, protects roots, adds nutrients to the soil, and it improves the appearance of your landscape. Mulch insulates your plants from the cold winter weather and hot, dry summers.
Many different types of mulch are available at local garden supply and home improvement stores. Organic mulch, such as cedar or pine bark is one option, and inorganic mulch, such as rock or recycled tire particles is another option. Organic mulch should be used around trees and plants, and inorganic mulch is great for along paths or borders. Inorganic mulch tends to get hot under sunlight, and can then burn plants. Organic mulch breaks down slowly, adding nutrients to the soil. The finer the particles the faster they enrich the soil.
Shredded Mulch Bark Chip Mulch Pea Gravel
Different colors and textures are available if you are concerned about the appearance of the mulch. Often times landscape fabric or black plastic is laid down first, with mulch applied over it for superior weed blockage.
Larger sized mulch will break down more slowly, but also may float away in heavy rain storms. The shredded variety works well on slopes and paths because it stays in place during heavy rain.
Mulch should be added to your flower beds whenever you can see bare ground between plants. You also want to add a layer of mulch if your drip irrigation lines are visible on the surface of the bed.
Mulching around trees holds water near the tree and protects trunks and surface roots from being damaged by lawn maintenance equipment.
Mulch can be used in areas where grass is difficult to establish. This will prevent further run-off of soil from your landscape.
A layer of about two inches of mulch is sufficient for most areas, and more can be added at any time.