Have you done your yearly mulching yet? Mulching is one of those quick but labor-intensive chores that often gets put off from year to year, but mulch does more than dress up your planting beds. It’s a smart tool for eco-conscious gardeners. These four reasons are just the beginning of what mulch can do for your landscaping.
1. Saving Water
Every bit of water we save is good for the environment and keeps a few more pennies in our pockets. By shielding our planting beds from the sun, mulch helps prevent evaporation. Our planting beds stay moist longer, and we don’t need to water them as frequently.
2. Reducing Runoff
That heavily-fertilized top soil we load onto our lawns doesn’t stay in place without something to anchor it there. On our lawns, we rely on grass. For planting beds, we rely on mulch. Mulch keeps our good soil in place, saving us money, keeping our plants happy and keeping harmful fertilizers out of our waterways.
3. Reducing Herbicide Use
All plants need at least a little sun to sprout from seed, and weeds are no exception. A good layer of mulch shades our planting beds, preventing sunlight from reaching lurking seeds. Fewer weeds crop up, and we don’t have to spend as much time pulling them up or spraying them with potentially harmful herbicides.
4. Eco-Friendly Fertilizer
Out in the woods, plants get a steady stream of natural, slow-release fertilizer from debris that falls to the forest floor and breaks down over time. Mulch works the same way in our planting beds. The added organic material enriches the soil, helps maintain a population of beneficial organisms and maintains good soil drainage.
Most mulch needs to be replenished every one to three years. An even, two-inch layer is perfect for most planting beds. A day or two of good work will make your beds look tidy and keep your landscaping eco-friendly.