Mulch - An Integral Part of the Landscaping Process
Mulch is a must-have in any residential or commercial landscape, and it isn’t just because it’s fun to pick out mulch coloring! There are numerous reasons that mulch when used properly, is one of the most important elements for your property’s aesthetics, your plants’ health, and your overall maintenance needs.
It Looks Great
Of course, it’s more complex than just that! Mulch improves the look of a landscape in lots of ways, especially when used to its full potential. Here are some of the high points:
Color contrast gives depth - choose mulch colorants that work to complement the tones of your home’s siding or exterior material, and consider the color of your plantings, too. For example—brick homes look great with reddish/brown pine mulches, which make the brick exterior pop, even from a distance. If you have dark greenery or bright flowers featured prominently in your landscape design, consider a dark mulch coloring, which will help those colors to stand out.
The texture makes landscaping stand out - particularly in landscapes that feature grass heavily, mulch provides a contrast in texture that draws the eye. If your landscape features large shrubs or trees on grass, the texture and color of a mulch bed help to delineate between the plantings, improving the aesthetics of all of them.
Environmental Benefits and Plant Health
Mulch doesn’t just improve the look of a landscape! Most property owners don’t know that mulching can provide numerous other benefits.
Preventing erosion: Sediment runoff and erosion are prevented by covering bare soil with mulch, an important consideration for properties with graded landscapes, new topsoil, or heavy precipitation or wind. Mulch is a minimally expensive investment that can save property owners from serious headaches caused by long-term soil loss.
Inhibits growth and germination of weeds: Weeds are ugly, sure. But they also rob plantings of nutrients and moisture. The good news is that a thick layer—about three inches deep—of mulch can prevent weed growth, and can even eliminate existing weeds. If you’re using a good mulch and aren’t applying it over weeds already strongly rooted in the soil, there’s little need to use landscaping fabrics or plastics beneath. In the correct density, mulch will block sunlight from reaching weeds and will block new seeds from reaching the soil.
Prevents water loss by evaporation: As any home gardener or landscaper can attest, maintaining an appropriate moisture level is the single greatest challenge in landscaping. Mulch prevents evaporation, so roots stay damp longer. That means less watering, happier plants, and ultimately, happier landscapers.
Adding organic material to soil: As mulch breaks down, it adds organic material to soil that is likely starved of nutrients. Most property owners don’t fertilize as often as is recommended, and the soil that surrounds plantings can be decades old, or even older. Mulch provides some much-needed nutrient content over time, so embrace the need to mulch twice annually—that means that your soil quality is improving!
Moderating Weather Extremes
Whether the problem is brutal summer heat, extreme precipitation, frosty winters, or violent swings in temperature, mulch helps!
Winter benefits: In areas that experience extreme winters, frost heaving can destroy an entire landscape. Mulch, because of its temperature-regulating properties, can help to prevent frost heaving. In more temperate zones, unusual temperature plunges can kill off plantings in a single evening. With their roots protected by an insulating layer of mulch, entire landscapes can be saved.
Summer benefits: Keeping plant roots cool means preventing plants from broiling in the hot summer sun. Even in areas with moderate summers, plants are at risk when temperatures swing to extremes. Property owners who utilize mulch property will be able to plant much more delicate shrubs and flowers without worry that heat exposure will kill them before they have time to mature.
Mulch is one of the most important elements of landscape design, but aesthetics are only the tip of the iceberg. Preventing weeds, regulating temperatures, and improving soil quality are just a few of the ways that this simple, attractive product can work wonders on any landscape—from the smallest patio to the grandest garden. No matter where you live, mulch is definitely a must-have and an integral part of any landscaping process. Do you have doubts? Then just ask the experts!
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