Mulch is a mainstay of any garden. Incorporating mulching into your garden preparations is a smart move, improving the chances of an abundance of fruits and vegetables come harvest time. Whether you live in the city or country, and whether you have a large garden, raised beds, or just some pots, mulches are a vital part of residential lawn and garden maintenance management.
The biggest benefit is moisture retention. How successful your garden is will be a direct result of how much water is in the soil. For dryer climates such as Dallas, where rainfall can be scarce, you will need to retain as much water as you can. You can achieve that by covering the top of your soil in a layer of organic material, keeping evaporation at bay.
Did you know that mulching can retain up to 80 percent of added moisture in your soil? When you protect the top level of soil from direct heat, the soil loses less water and becomes a more fertile environment for your plants. Quality mulch can “breathe,” and therefore won’t introduce mold, which can harm plants.
Different Types of Mulches
There are many types of mulch out there, and many don’t cost you a thing. From wood chips and pine straw to grass clippings and leaves, you have your choice when it comes to what mulch you will use.
Pine straw is best for acid-loving plants, such as blueberries, strawberries, garlic, tomatoes, and potatoes. Pine straw can be quite messy, though, with coloring fading fast and the straw becoming flammable.
Save the grass clippings that result after you mow your lawn. Not only are they free and readily accessible, you are doing your part to re-distribute garden and lawn matter to other areas of your garden, eliminating the need to find a place to dispose of this by-product. Grass clippings add nitrogen and nutrients for beneficial microbes that are in your soil, which will help your plants thrive.
Another free and plentiful resource, leaves a favorite mulch for many gardeners. You can spread them out to protect your soil during winter months, with oak and maple leaves being the best. If you run a mower over the leaves, this will shred them and release some of their retained moisture. Just make sure you don’t pick up sticks and other debris at the same time.
Wood chips, shredded wood, or saw dust are all great as mulch. Just be sure to avoid treated wood, which has toxic chemicals and can kill your plants. There is much debate over whether fresh wood chips provide much-needed nitrogen. Some say it doesn’t, while others say it decreases nitrogen initially but then it comes back throughout the natural breaking down process. Wood is heavy, keeps the soil moist and cool, and keeps weeds away from your plants. Plus, it acts as a decorative element that enhances your garden.
Contact Outdoor Home Living
To learn more about the mulches we use, contact us at 214-328-5296.