When and where to mulch your lawn
You may be experiencing all sorts of problems with your lawn, and as surprising as it may be the solution could be as easy as one step: Adding mulch. Mulching is an extremely simple process that can have great effects in your lawn, and it’s easy enough that even the most inexperienced homeowner can perform it. Read on to learn all about the benefits of mulch, and the best way to spread it through your lawn.
What is mulch?
Mulch is a general term that could be one of many different products. By definition, mulching is the process of covering the soil and plants in your lawn with any material that is considered mulch. These materials can be many things, but most commonly include:
Small rocks and pebbles
Many of these products are very visually pleasing and can add a nice touch to your lawn, making it easier to make a great first impression of your lawn. Adding a layer of mulch has many benefits, including holding moisture in your soil (making the most of the nutrients you provide your lawn with), fighting weeds and adding very important nutrients to your soil. Even problems like lawn-diseases and thatching can be prevented with a simple mulch layer.
Selecting and spreading mulch
Obviously there are many types of mulch, and some will be a better fit for the needs of your lawn than others. If you are adding mulch for purely aesthetic reasons, the choice is as easy as which mulch you enjoy the appearance of most. Rocks are not the best choice for some types of plants, so make sure to take this into consideration when you are selecting a mulch.
If you’re looking to provide your lawn with nutrients and help it retain them, you’ll want to select an organic varieties of mulch. Organic mulches are the types that are found in nature, so wood chips, grass clippings, straw and compost will be your best choice. Mulch can also be very helpful in protecting your lawn from harsh weather, for this purpose it is best to use hay, leaves or straw.
Before you begin the mulching process, it is important that you clean up the area where mulch will be spread. This entails removing any weeds that have sprouted up in the area. Manually removing weeds isn’t hard, but it can be tedious. Make sure that all weeds are removed, roots and all. To successfully remove the roots, take hold of the weed firmly at the base. Pull slowly, ensuring the the plant is not ripping at the ground. Herbicides can be used to remove weeds prior to mulching, but be very careful when applying these products. Many of them are not selective in what they kill, so you’ll need to use extra care to only spray them directly onto the weeds.
The amount of mulch that you should spread depends on the variety that you are using, but generally you should use 2-3 inches of rock mulch, and 2-4 inches of organic materials. If you are trying to protect your lawn from winter temperatures, a couple of extra inches of mulch may be required.
Be careful not to apply mulch when the soil is very wet. Doing so can make the soil retain too much water, and your plants will die quickly if this is the case. To prevent this, add mulch when the soil is mostly dry, then add water once you have finished spreading the mulch. If you’re still unsure about the best way to spread mulch in your lawn, get in touch with a lawn care expert.