Spring is a time to celebrate as we can feel the days getting longer and warmer. After a dreary winter, we’ve seen crocuses starting to poke their heads out, but this can mean your weeds are also plotting a comeback. One of the best things you can do to stop weeds in their tracks is applying mulch and a pre-emergent before germination. NOW is the time to do it!
Why Is Mulching with a Pre-emergent So Important?
Combined with a pre-emergent herbicide, spring mulching is a great way to prohibit weeds before they start to grow and spread. Mulch blocks the light that weeds need to grow. It creates a tough physical barrier against weed growth. Mulch may not stop all the weeds from pushing through. However, it’s highly effective at weed control freeing up your time to focus on other aspects of your landscape.
For most gardeners and landscapers, weed control is usually first and foremost but mulch has plenty of other benefits:
- Mulch prevents soil erosion by keeping soil in place during rainy periods.
- Mulch holds in moisture and keeps soil from drying out.
- Mulch regulates soil temperature, keeping flower beds cool during the summer and helping plants to thrive.
- Mulch creates a neat and attractive landscape.
- Organic mulch (like shredded hardwood) enriches your soil as it decomposes.
How Do I Choose The Best Mulch For My Landscape?
There are two main types of mulch: inorganic (stones of different sizes) and organic (usually wood, but also leaves, pine needles, hay, straw and other materials).
- Shredded hardwood: Typically used for garden beds and flowers, it is a landscaper and consumer favorite. It’s available in a range of naturally dyed colors, but classic dark brown remains popular and timeless.
- Wood chips (usually cedar or pine): Pieces are usually larger than shredded mulch. It lasts longer, not breaking down as quickly as shredded mulch. A great option around trees and shrubs.
- Pine needles: A useful mulch around some large plants and shrubs.
- Straw or hay: Often used in vegetable gardens, it doesn’t offer the esthetic appeal of wood mulch but provides solid weed control for your spring and summer veggies.
- Inorganic rock mulch (either pea gravel or larger stones): Many landscapers prefer near walkways and around buildings and downspouts. It provides a gorgeous, clean look but doesn’t offer the soil-enriching property of mulch. Rock mulch is most effective with a layer of porous landscape fabric underneath.
How Much Mulch Do I Need?
A 1-2 inch layer of coarse hardwood mulch with a pre-emergent application is usually the suggested amount to prevent weeds from emerging without suffocating your soil. Be careful not to over-mulch: it can keep your soil from getting the oxygen it needs. If you’re applying your own mulch, follow these simple instructions:
- Remove existing mulch before you apply new.
- Pull any emerging weeds and remove any twigs, leaves or other debris.
- Apply a pre-emergent herbicide in granule form to the bare soil.
- Cover with fresh mulch at the recommended thickness.
For Just-Right Spring Mulch, Call The Pros
If you’re thinking spring and want to get your mulch just right, you can save time and headaches by calling a professional landscaper. At Epling Landscaping & Lawn Services, our decades of experience with Loudoun landscapes make us mulching experts. Our professional team will:
- Help you choose the perfect shade and type of mulch for every location and plant variety.
- Apply the right amount of mulch for pre-emergent weed control.
- Apply a safe and effective pre-emergent herbicide.
- Let you focus less on weeds and more on enjoying your landscape.
Spring is here–let’s get mulching!