A healthy layer of mulch can be a great step toward getting your yard and garden to thrive. It’s possible to have too much of a good thing, though. The right timing is crucial for healthy and comfortable plants.
Mulch acts as protection for your garden, sheltering roots and bulbs from the elements as it helps the soil regulate its temperature and hold on to moisture. A thick layer can block out the cold, but it’s not good for every time of year. Because mulch is so tough to get through, laying it down at the wrong time can backfire.
The best times to apply mulch are when extra soil regulation is needed; this is generally either in late autumn before the first cold snap, or in late spring to keep the soil moist during the summer months. Avoid putting any down in early spring, as this blocks out rain and adds a barrier for your sprouts; pulling a bit off as the weather warms is actually better, although not enough to leave your garden vulnerable in a cold snap. You also don’t need to mulch all at once. Adding or removing it gradually as the seasons change is often a better bet.
Because mulch is such an effective barrier, it can also be used to keep weeds at bay. If you have a patch of unwanted growth, an application is a great way to stop it in its tracks without hours of weeding. Just be sure you don’t overload the plants you do want.
The key thing to keep in mind is to make sure you never have too much mulch down at any time; one to three inches should be plenty. If your layer is too thick, it will actually hurt plant growth. They might have trouble pushing sprouts through or take root in the less-stable mulch instead of the soil below. Take your existing layer into account when deciding how much, if any, mulch to add. If you use a non-organic type like gravel, you may not need to add more at all.
Are you a Lincoln County resident ready to lay down new mulch? River Bottom Topsoil, located in Troy, MO, offers a variety of bulk mulch, topsoil, gravel, and sand. To speak with staff and decide what will work best for your needs, call (632) 462-5331. Read more about their services, including mulch delivery, on their website. You can also find River Bottom Topsoil on Facebook.