Reasons to plant and mulch every spring are in abundance. Mulching helps plants and trees hold in precious moisture. Spring planting adds color to your landscape for the season – or even longer – depending on what you choose to plant. Whether you plan to redesign your entire landscape or you’re just looking to maintain your existing one, a little work now will reap big rewards the rest of the year.
Choosing the Right Mulch
Before you apply mulch, you need to decide what variety you are going to use. There are two different types of mulch to choose from: organic and inorganic.
Organic mulch is a natural product and will break down over time, eventually becoming part of the soil. Examples of organic mulch are shredded hardwood, wood chips, pine needles, compost, and cocoa hulls.
Inorganic mulch consists of anything not living, and can be human-made. Examples of inorganic mulch are rubber, stone, and lava rock.
Some things to consider before purchasing mulch are:
- How often do I want to apply mulch? Inorganic mulches typically last longer because they don’t break down.
- Is the mulch a good choice for animals? Some mulches, like cocoa hulls, can be poisonous to dogs and cats.
- What is the cost? Most organic mulches are more economical than their inorganic counterparts, but will need to be replaced more often.
The Benefits of Using Mulch
- Reduces the temperature of the soil by about 10 degrees during the hottest part of the summer.
- Helps trap moisture in the soil around plants and trees.
- Acts as a weed suppressant and aids in preventing erosion.
- Helps nourish the soil as it decomposes.
- Improves the appearance of your property.
Tips for Applying Mulch
Proper application is crucial for your plants to realize the benefits of mulch. Mulching incorrectly could actually damage the plants and cause stress.
When mulching, consider the following tips:
- Mulch can be applied at any time, but it’s always recommended to mulch in spring.
- Add a pre-emergent and fertilizer to your plants before spreading mulch over the area.
- Loosen soil underneath the mulch because it helps water reach the roots of your plants.
- Adding too much mulch can be harmful; ensure that you are mulching to the correct depth.
“Every landscape starts with a plan.” After staying inside your home most of the winter, being outside again and starting to garden sounds awesome. However, there are several decisions you should make before planting. Ask yourself: What do you want to plant? Where do you want to plant it? Do you want to keep blooms throughout the growing season? Having a plan will keep you focused and can bring life to your landscape year-round.
Perhaps you are interested in planting more perennials, which come back year after year. People choose to plant perennials for a variety of reasons; they are easy to maintain, and they come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, textures, and sizes. Popular perennials include phlox, mums, daylilies, ornamental grasses, and peonies.
Annuals are also called bedding plants. Unlike perennials, they complete their growing cycle during one season. Gardeners often use them to add intense color and texture to a garden.
There are three types of annuals:
- Hardy annuals can tolerate colder temperatures and light frosts, which means that you can plant them earlier in the season. They can typically go in the ground about four weeks before the frost-free date in your climate region. Common hardy annuals are snapdragons, sweet alyssum, and pansies. Note: Pansies are actually short-lived perennials but are generally used as annuals due to their leggy growth.
- Half-hardy annuals cannot tolerate frost. You can plant them about two weeks before the frost-free date in your area. Popular half-hardy annuals are geraniums, marigolds, and petunias.
- Tender annuals are best planted when the soil and air are warm. Make sure you are well beyond the frost-free date before planting them. Common tender annuals are begonias, cosmos, and sunflowers.
Note: Different varieties of plants can have different hardiness levels. Check with your landscaper or local nursery before assuming that any variety is hardy or half-hardy.
Start Beautifying Your Landscape
By doing a little planning and following the simple tips above, you can have a luscious landscape that elegantly frames your home. Let Epling Landscaping and Lawn Service, Inc be the single source for your design, installation, and maintenance needs. You can truly have it all!