The Magic of
by Carole McCray
can work wonders for a garden.
Organic mulch is a biodegradable plant material like wood chips and
is good for a flowerbed.
Inorganic material such as plastic sheeting is better in a vegetable
Growise Center will advise you on the best mulch for your garden.
a thickness of 2 to 4 inches around trees, shrubs, perennials or pathways.
Small chips are attractive; large pieces retard weeds better.
Aged bark prevents nitrogen depletion in soil.
hulls—place a thickness of 2 to 4 inches around trees, shrubs, perennials
May contain pesticide residue; can mold.
2 to 4 inches around vegetables, flowers or fruit.
Good source of organic matter.
compost—good source of organic matter.
Apply thickness of 2 to 4 inches around vegetables, flowers or fruit
after soil warms.
Can be turned under at end of season.
manure—Same as mushroom compost.
chips—Apply a thickness of 3 to 4 inches around trees, shrubs, herbs or
Compost before applying or add nitrogen to fresh chips.
BENEFITS OF ORGANIC MULCH
Improves soil structure and nutrient content as mulch
weed growth. Slows
water evaporation. Soil does not dry out quickly; less watering required.
soil stay cool; reduces stress on plant roots in summer heat.
as a ground insulator in winter.
Protects plants from heaving out of the soil in climates where ground
freezes and thaws rapidly. Can
prevent soil from washing away in hard rain.
Fabric—weed barrier around trees and shrubs.
Lay out before
planting; then cut
holes for plant material.
Cover with a 2-inch layer of mulch.
exposed to sunlight,
breaks down after several years. Tough weeds may come
Plastic sheeting—place around trees, shrubs, vegetables and flowers.
Apply before planting; then cut holes.
Apply a thin layer of organic mulch to disguise sheeting.
Exposure to light causes sheeting to break down in two to three
raises temperature; lay soaker hose underneath to water.
Gravel or small stone—natural looking in the proper setting.
Stone is well-suited in a dry climate; dark --natural looking in the
In cold regions, spread landscape fabric beneath gravel or stones.
It keeps mulch from working its way into the freezing and thawing
soil and prevents formation of large air pockets, causing roots to dry out.
Mid spring; wait till perennials show new growth.
Apply a winter mulch to protect perennials once the soil freezes.
Lay a 6-to12-inch layer of straw over summer mulch.
off winter mulch in early spring.
mulch 6 inches away from plant to discourage slugs, cutworms and earwigs
that may hide under mulch.
Never mound up mulch around tree stems.
light-colored mulches in cooler climates; they prevent soil from warming in
light-colored material in the South where soil can heat too fast in summer. Mulches
like straw and sawdust can cause nutrient imbalance; replace nitrogen with
bloodmeal or other nitrogen source. Your
Growise specialists will help you work magic in your gardens with a variety