Mulch in Landscape
There are many benefits to mulch in a landscape:
- Prevents weeds: Mulch covers the topsoil, making it difficult for weed seeds to germinate, thus minimizing weed growth. It also creates a layer in which weeds have to compete to grow.
- Promotes water retention: Surrounding plant material with mulch helps to retain water and soil saturation, reducing evaporation back into the atmosphere. This is particularly important in sunny areas where soil can dry out easily.
- Adds nutrients to the soil: Mulch helps to replenish nutrients back into the soil as bark, needles, and woody materials decompose over time.
- Protects roots: Mulching around trees and shrubs in areas like Edmonton, where extreme temperatures are common, helps to protect roots from damage caused by freezing or extreme heat.
When applying mulch, the following should be considered:
- Avoid oversupplying mulch: Applying too much mulch can create chronic excess moisture, which can damage roots and make trees and shrubs more vulnerable to fungi and diseases.
- Avoid adding mulch near the tree trunk: Adding too much mulch around the trunk of the tree can cause stress, leading to root growth upwards and through their roots in search of water, ultimately resulting in less water uptake by the tree.
To maximize the benefits of mulch, it is essential to use it correctly and in moderation. By avoiding excessive application and careful placement around the base of trees and shrubs, homeowners and landscapers can enjoy the many benefits that mulch provides.