Mulching the landscape is not only inexpensive but also one of the simplest tasks to show your soil some love. A layer of mulch added to your flower beds can improve the soil moisture retention and temperature, the flowers’ appearance, and suppress weeds efficiently.
But don’t worry if you don’t know how to mulch flower beds, here is a brief guide to help you.
Which Kinds Of Soils Need To Be Mulched?
Rest the heart that every soil type is suitable to be mulched because after the mulches break down, it will receive nutrients and improve in some certain aspects.
The two kinds of soils that must be mulched are clay and sandy soils.
While clay soils get benefit from earthworm activities created by mulches, making them softer and rich in oxygen levels…
...the sandy is improved clearly in terms of moisture retention.
Organic Or Inorganic Mulches?
What Are They?
These are two basic types of mulches, each of which features some certain pros and cons that come to different applications. Here is a brief explanation about them to let you understand and get a better idea of which to choose.
Organic mulch, just like organic food, is made from carbon-containing materials without containing chemicals in it.
Two shining examples are compost and wood chips.
They’re widely sold in most home improvement stores or you can DIY at home by raking up leaves in the backyard, composting kitchen scraps and garden waste, or making pine straw.
Once they break down in, organic mulches will acidify the soil to improve its tilth.
Inorganic mulch, on the other hand, includes some chemicals but they’re plant-friendly.
Besides, it doesn’t contain carbon materials to improve soil quality. Its sole benefit is to save the soil from leaching away or water drainage.
Two common kinds of inorganic mulches are rubber playground mulches and rock mulches, like lava rock and gravel.
While keeping loose soil from washing away during rain pours, they’re also known as a beautiful décor item to add character or accent to a flower pot.
Which Is The Right For Your Flower Beds?
As stated above, inorganic mulches don’t enrich the soil but just protect them from physical impacts, they are ideal for healthy flower beds to add extra protection during rainy seasons.
In a big flower garden, rubber playground mulches play another role in keeping the walkers from slipping and falling.
In terms of organic mulches, this is the best for supplying nutrients to the soil while keeping it warm during the winter. But their biggest flaws are either easy to leach away or blow off by gusts.
Gardeners, in fact, would prefer to combine both of these mulches for the highest benefits, like adding a layer of organic mulches on the soil’s surface and then cover it with inorganic mulches.
How To Mulch Flower Beds
When it comes to using mulch for weed control, remember these two cardinal rules:
To Deal With Weeded Soil
If you know the flower beds have been filled with perennial roots or weed seeds for some reason, use a double-mulching technique to keep them from spreading (because weeds can spread as quickly as lighting).
Start by setting all flowers in place, watering them and then spreading a layer of mulch on top.
For better results, you can add a layer of shredded/unshredded newspapers before topping it with mulch. The mulch layer should be 4 or 6 inches to discourage weeds.
To Prevent Weeds From Invading The Pure Soil
This is a bit easier to deal with and the layer of mulch needed to cover the soil can be thinner.
2 or 3 inches’ layer is commonly enough for shade spots to control weeds while 4 or 5 inches’ layer is adequate for sun-lover plants.
When adding mulches, remember to pile them merely 1 or 1.5 inches away from the stem and crowns of flowers. It’s because mulches contain a huge amount of moisture, which might slow the soil warming process during spring.
Not to say that wet mulch if placed too close to the crowns and stem of flowers, it could make them rot and even encourage rodents (like mice and voles) to make a nest there.
How Many Mulches To Add To Your Flower Beds?
Whether it’s the organic or inorganic mulch, gardeners should layer it within 1” to 4” on the soil’s surface. Don’t add any higher than that because too much mulch can cause fungal diseases or rotten stem.
Some exceptional cases are straw (which you should add more volume than the standards) and sawdust (which you should lower the quantity).
When To Apply Mulch
The good news is mulching can be added all year round, whenever you find the soil is bare. Mulching flower beds during spring also helps control weeds while throughout the summer or winter, mulches save your plants from harsh weather conditions.
In the fall, mulching makes the bounty of fallen leaves, turning them into compost and enrich the soil.
Although mulching is not a risky task, it’ll make your nails dirty and unhygienic if not wearing gloves. So make sure you have at least one pair at hand while gardening.
If you use bags of mulch, just drag them near your flower beds, cut open and pour out the mulch. But for loose mulch, it’d be more effortless and time-saving to scoop up the mulch into a small wheelbarrow and push it to your flower beds.
That’s all for this article. Thanks a lot for reading and happy gardening!