It is time to apply mulch – and more than you think. Most people and companies under apply mulch. It is often a question of cost, but I would argue that you can’t afford NOT to apply the recommended 3 inches. It all comes down to beauty verses beautiful functionality. The proper 3 inches of mulch adds functionality in the following ways:
Benefits of 3 inches of Mulch
1) Decomposes and feeds the plants
2) Limits and controls weed growth
3) Helps retain moisture in the soil
4) Insulates the soil from rapid shifts in temperature
Part of what mulch does is simply cover the soil. Having a layer of material on top of the soil limits the effects of light, heat, and wind. This simple layer helps limit weeds, and keeps the soil more consistent in both moisture and temperature. What sets mulch apart from other simple ground covers is that mulch decomposes.
As the mulch naturally decomposes, the bacteria that breaks down the mulch absorb most of the available nitrogen and other nutrients on the top of the mulch. This creates a small region hostile to new seed germination and plant growth. That is why weeds don’t grow well on top of mulch. As the process continues, the bacteria dies and releases those same nutrients back into the soil. This creates an area of nutrient rich soil directly under the mulch.
Probably most applicable with Summer fast approaching, is that mulch helps retain moisture and insulate from rapid temperature shifts. Water is precious and expensive. Help save your plants while conserving water.
Don’t sell yourself short by applying too little mulch.