Mulching is an extremely cost-effective way to maintain healthy plants and improve your landscaping efforts and curb appeal all at once. For this obvious reason most homeowner's associations will strongly advise you to lay pine straw or mulch. Mulching has many benefits to your landscaping efforts.
When used properly mulch has the following effects on plants and soil. Mulches can prevent water loss from the underneath soil by minimizing evaporation? Mulches also reduce the growth of weeds when the soil material itself is weed free, and applied directly enough to prevent weed germination or to smother existing weeds. Mulches also help your lawn and landscaping not only in the spring and fall, but also during the summer time by keeping the soil cooler during the summer period.
During cold winters, mulch insulates the soil to help keep it warmer minimizing frost damage to the plants. During summer, lawn maintenance mulches are more than a good idea as they protect the trunks of trees and shrubs from physical damage by lawn equipment. All in all mulches are a good idea.
The best time to mulch new plantings is right after you plant them. Around established plants mulch is best applied in early spring. This is when plants are beginning to grow and before summer weeds have a chance to germinate. How often mulch needs to be replenished depends on the mulching material itself.
Grass clippings and leaves decompose very fast and need to be replenished frequently. Inorganic mulches such as gravel and pebbles do not need replacement and the plants will fill in the bed area on their own; less and less mulch will be needed. The amount of mulch to apply depends on the texture and density of the mulch material. Many wood and bark mulches are composed of fine particles and should not be more than 2 to 3 inches deep. Excessive amounts of these fine textured mulches can suffocate plant roots; resulting in yellowing of the leaves and poor growth.
Coarse textured mulches such as pine bark nuggets allow good air movement through them and can be as deep as 4 inches. Mulches made from shredded leaves and grasses are never recommended to be more than 2 inches thick because they can prevent water and air supply to plant roots. Although mulching is a practice associated in most amateur gardeners and landscapers as an activity associated with the fall and leaves, mulching is a wise practice for your yard, property, and garden and trees. It's also a great way to boost the curb appeal of your home.
Matt Buquoi is a senior writer for Flower Window Boxes, a hardscaping company that specializes in window flower boxes, planters, and custom garden accessories. Visit Flower Window Boxes to learn more about how mulching and hardscaping can enhance your curb appeal.