Top 9 Tips for Choosing and Using Mulch

Here’s our guide for everything you need to know about choosing and using mulch in your garden this year.

 

Mulching is a great way to get your garden looking beautiful while saving water and protecting your plants. Ready to get mulching? Read on for tips on the best garden mulch to use in your outdoor space.

 

1. Find your Mulch Match

Finding the best garden mulch for your space can depend on many factors. Cedar mulch lasts a long time. Dyed mulch lets you choose your color and hardwood mulch is traditional. When it comes to finding the best mulch match for you and your garden, start by assessing the needs of the plants you’ll be mulching and how much maintenance you are willing to put in. As a general rule, chunkier forms of mulch are great for landscaping around trees, shrubs, or pathways. Finer types of mulch are best used in vegetable gardens and flower beds.

 

2. Choose Quality Mulch

There are two main types of mulch: organic and inorganic. Inorganic mulch would be something like plastic or landscape fabric. Whenever possible, opt for organic. Organic garden mulch is the best option for the environment and can help better regulate water distribution.

 

red mulch in garden

3. Marvelous Mulch Accents

While the word mulch doesn’t sound particularly beautiful, it can add visual interest to your outdoor space! Mulching throughout your landscape can create a sense of style and cohesion. Sometimes the best garden mulch to use is one with texture and color that complements your garden’s aesthetic or the exterior of your home.

 

4. Apply Mulch on Time

The best time to apply mulch to your garden is usually mid to late spring, or autumn. Mulching before weeds have germinated will help prevent them from growing and getting out of control, and being proactive with your mulching will save you some headaches when it comes to pulling weeds! You can mulch anything new you plant during the growing season. The purpose of autumnal mulching is mainly to protect plants throughout the frosty months.

 

5. Mulch your Trees

In addition to your vegetable garden or flower beds, you can use mulch to protect your trees too. Put mulch down in a ring around the tree’s trunk but not directly touching it. This protective ring can reduce external threats, protect it from lawnmowers, and help regulate its water intake, so it doesn’t get too soggy.

 

pulling weeds in garden

6. Prepare the Area

If you’re mulching at a time during the year when there are already weeds, you can use a weed killer one to two weeks before laying down mulch, or just pull them up. Clean up the mulch area and get rid of any organic debris, twigs, rocks, etc. If you are re-mulching an area, you don’t have to remove the old mulch! Mulch breaks down and adds wonderful nutrients to your soil.

 

7. Use the Right Amount

Over or under-mulching won’t be effective and could actually damage your plants. Stick to about two to four inches of mulch on the soil surface. Staying in this range will keep weeds at bay and conserve moisture content. Proper mulching will mean fewer trips out with the watering can! If you have very small plants that would drown in two to four inches of mulch, of course, use less of it.

 

8. Water the Mulch

Your mulch needs to be watered when you lay it down. When you water your new garden mulch, you’re giving it a chance to settle into place and soak up moisture that it will then distribute to the plants and soil around it over time. You want the soil under your mulch to be damp but not soaking wet. Too much water could still lead to root rot and sad plants. If you suspect your mulch may be a bit moldy, you can use a metal rake to fluff it up, turn it over and expose it to the fresh air.

 

mulched garden at home

9. Consider the Entire Landscape

Research shows that mulching is great for the environment, so don’t be shy! You can mulch pretty much anywhere on your property that has bare soil. Mulching your gardens can help lock in essential nutrients so our soil and everything we grow in it can be healthy and thriving. 

 

Mulching is a great tool to help your garden look and perform to its best potential. You can plant with confidence and mulch freely by learning these tips. Mulch is your friend, so call on it anytime you need it! If you’re looking for tips on the best garden mulch to use in Bettendorf, come visit us! We’ll help answer all your gardening questions.

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