When Spring arrives, and the smell of fresh mulch is in the air, you might be wondering, what is the purpose of mulch anyway?
If you’re looking to spruce up your landscape, a fresh layer of mulch will most certainly accomplish that goal. But, mulch serves many purposes beyond looking attractive.
The main purposes of mulch are to suppress weeds, enrich the soil with nutrients, regulate soil temperature, improve moisture retention, prevent soil erosion. In essence, mulch suppresses the growth of unwanted weeds while enriching the soil allowing plants to thrive.
Weeds are constantly on the attack, invading garden beds, spreading their roots, and taking over. Every homeowner needs a strategy to stop them or, at the very least, slow them down. One way to prevent weeds is to spray your garden beds with chemicals every year. Another more sustainable and natural way is to use mulch to suppress the growth of weeds.
Weeds need sunlight and warmth for their seeds to germinate, which is why they are at their worst in the middle of the summer when sunlight and heat are abundant. Mulch provides a thick and dense cover which blocks sunlight, regulates soil temperature, and makes the germination of weed seeds difficult. The seeds that are able to germinate likely won’t reach the surface because mulch cuts off their energy source, the sun.
Enrich the Soil with Nutrients
Organic mulch, the kind made from organic materials such as bark or wood chips, decomposes over time and adds nutrients and texture to the soil during that process. These added nutrients improve the health and fertility of the soil. Nutrient-Rich soil is ideal for plants as well as the worms and other insects that aerate the soil.
Since organic mulch decomposes, unfortunately, you have to replenish it every year.
Retain Moisture in the Soil
Another purpose of mulch is to retain moisture in the soil it covers. Mulch acts like a sponge absorbing enormous amounts of water while blocking direct sunlight, which slows down evaporation. Retaining soil moisture not only benefits plants, but it also saves you money since you don’t need to water as often.
If mulch is too dense or you pack it too tight, it can prevent water from reaching the soil and have an adverse effect. If you apply mulch yourself, make sure you understand the proper amount to apply (coming up in this article).
Some mulches retain moisture better than others. Organic mulches made from shredded materials like bark or wood are the best at retaining moisture. Other mulches, such as stones, coarse wood chips, and recycled rubber/plastic, are less effective at moisture retention because they are not as dense. These types of mulches allow water to pass through and reach the soil, but they do not absorb water, block heat, and retain moisture as well as shredded mulch.
Regulate Soil Temperature
Mulch regulates the temperature of the soil, like the way insulation works in your home. It cools the soil during hot summer days and retains heat when temperatures decrease. Drastic fluctuations in temperature are harmful to plant roots. Mulch limits the severity of fluctuations so that plants can sustain ideal growing temperatures.
Prevent Soil Erosion
Exposed soil can erode from strong winds or rainfall. Erosion can be damaging to your landscape, especially on slopes and hills. Mulch provides a heavy, dense cover that protects the soil from these elements and limits erosion.
How Much Does Mulch Cost
We offer Triple Processed mulch in Natural Brown and Dyed Black for $45 delivered plus delivery fee based on location and $95 per yard installed by hand.
CONTACT US NOW to schedule your project