“How do I mulch my beds this spring?”
Now that you have your Garden Spring Cleanup complete, it’s time to mulch your beds to prevent weeds in the garden. Now, before we get into the how we want to go the Don’ts of weed prevention.
A lot of so called “professional” landscapers will try to sell you on the idea of installing filter fabric, also cleverly named “weed barrier” by those producing it. Don’t fall for it! Not only is the initial cost greater to install, but it will cause you endless headaches over the years. When used in combination with mulch, the following will happen:
1.) Mulch will not have proper contact with soil to lock it in place and in combination with water can move; exposing the fabric.
2.) Mulch breaks down over time, turning into organics that weeds can grow in.
There is however, a proper use for landscape fabric; to keep solids and fines separated. Most typically we see it used between decorative gravel and soil surfaces to prevent the two from mixing over the years. The also may be used in gravel drainage systems to prevent fines from building up in the system over time and clogging or making it less effective.
Okay, so now that we have the Don’ts out of the way we can talk about what we Do want to happen. We are going to start off with the initial mulching of a garden bed. This would be the very first time mulch is applied to a garden and NOT what you would be installing on an annual basis. The proper depth to install mulch is 3″. While mulching we want to make sure we are thinning out the thickness to 1″ – 2″ around the trunks of trees, shrubs and any perennials that may have already popped up this spring. We don’t want to smother or add unneeded moisture to plants when needed.
Alright it’s year two of having a fantastic garden and we want to make sure our mulch is still looking and performing it’s best this coming season, how much mulch do I need to put in my garden? Well, the answer will vary. On average we find mulch to decompose between 1.5″ – 2″ per year. This means we may only need a top dressing of 1″ -1.5″ to keep your garden looks it’s best. Too many times have we came into a property for the first time to find 5″ to 8″ of mulch in a bed! Too much mulch can cause rot, nutrient deprivation and plant death. If this is ever the case for you, we suggest removing an adequate amount prior to installation of the new mulch.