Mulching is a long-time practice of gardeners to prevent loss of moisture and to control weeds. It is also increasing in favor as municipalities restrict the use of water for lawns and landscapes. Mulch is a layer of organic or inorganic material placed over the root zone of a plant to benefit the roots and the soil. These materials will eventually decompose, adding organic matter to the soil and need to be supplemented or replaced on a regular basis
Why use mulch?
To conserve moisture in the plant root zone;
To prevent weed growth;
To stabilize soil temperatures, reducing plant injury from the heaving of plants during freeze/thaw periods and allow for gradual warming of the soil in the spring;
To prevent the spread of soil-borne diseases;
Increase soil fertility through decomposition of mulches;
To increase water infiltration and prevent soil compaction;
To improve the appearance of landscape
Application of Mulch
Summer mulch should be applied by We-Do-All Contractors to soil in late May / early June after the soil has warmed. Winter mulch should be used to cover plants in the fall after the ground is frozen. Mulch depths range from 2-3 inches in herbaceous and vegetable beds to 4-6 inches for winter protection. Thicker depths will cause moisture to be retained and a lack of oxygen to the roots. This anaerobic environment will cause such problems as root rot, a condition caused by root suffocation. This lack of oxygen will cause symptoms such as yellow foliage, lack of growth, tieback, small leaves, etc. Thick mulch can also become a haven for small, burrowing animals who feed on plant stems.
Mulching for Weed Control
Mulch is often used to control weeds. Mulch that is 2-4 inches deep is sufficient for blocking out light that causes weed seeds to germinate. It will also prevent soil-borne bacterial and fungi from splashing onto leaves during rainstorms or watering. Perennial beds are best protected with 2-3 inches of mulch. Annuals benefit most from 1-2 inches of organic mulch that will break down quickly and is tilled into the soil each year. This adds considerable organic matter to the soil. Even though they are often planted to control weeds, ground covers should be mulched after planting to prevent weed infestation and improve establishment, survival and growth. The spaces between the plants can be filled with approximately two - four inches of mulch. Another mulch option is to plant non-aggressive annual flowers between the plants to help shade out the weeds without competing with the ground cover. Be sure to provide a sufficient amount of water for both types of plants.
Mulching for Winter Protection
It is a common misconception that covering plants with mulch in the fall keeps them from freezing. While mulch does help to insulate the soil, the soil usually freezes. However, the mulch helps this change to be gradual. Mulch also reduces the heaving of the plant crown caused by the freeze / thaw cycle. The same is true with warm temperatures. Mulch helps to maintain cool soil temperatures in the spring, gradually warming up, preventing the damage that can occur to plants when they emerge before temperatures are warm enough to sustain them. An application of mulch in late spring after excess moisture from spring thaws has evaporated will keep the soil as much as 10° cooler in the summer heat.. Perennials that are marginally hardy require winter protection in the form of mulch. Mulch should be applied in late fall when there is some frost on the ground and removed in the spring when soil temperatures have warmed and active growth on the plants is noticeable. Waiting too long to remove the mulch in the spring may result in mold growth and damage to the plants. Usually mid-April is a good time to remove mulch in Saskatchewan, but gardeners should be prepared to cover plants if a late freeze is predicted.
For more information about our company's mulch installation services in and around Saskatoon Saskatchewan or to book and appointment for a free no obligation estimate E-mail email@example.com