Mulch is an important landscaping element that also keeps your plants healthier. You can put wood chips around trees and in flower beds. You might want leaf mulch for your vegetable garden or rocks for foundation plants. The purpose of wood chips and rocks is to hold back weed growth while keeping moisture in the soil. Here are some tips for using mulch.
Apply Mulch To Wet Soil
Putting down mulch when the soil is wet allows you to get a start on holding in moisture. It's important to use enough wood chips or rocks to hold down weeds but not so much that rain can't filter through to the soil. A few inches of wood chips is all you need to add.
Installing the wood chips in the spring after a rainy spell is a good choice, but if you haven't had rain recently, you can water the soil first. You might even want to apply a herbicide before putting down the wood chips for additional help with weeds.
Keep Wood Chips Inches Away From Plants
Don't create a mound of wood chips against a tree or around plants. Wood should be a few inches away so the plants don't get root rot. When using wood chips with plants, wait to put the chips down after the plants have come up through the ground. This makes it easy for the plants to get a healthy start and it also makes it easier to spread the mulch by hand so you can keep the wood chips a few inches away from each plant.
Consider Rocks Near Your Foundation
If you have a problem with insect pests, you may not want wood chips up against your foundation. Wood chips slowly decay and they're a food source and hiding place for all kinds of insect pests. Wood chips are attractive, but they might draw bugs to your house.
You can reduce the risk of attracting bugs by using rocks instead of wood chips. However, you may need to be careful if the rocks are in full sun since they hold heat. Rocks are attractive, excellent at controlling weeds, and good at keeping the soil moist.
Mulching A Vegetable Garden Is Different
Wood chips are not ideal for a vegetable garden, and rocks or rubber won't work either. You want mulching material that breaks down fast to nourish the soil. Good choices are leaves, grass clippings, or even straw. Straw is especially good for use between rows to use as walkways. Try to use mulch that isn't contaminated with chemical treatments for a food garden and skip applying herbicide before you put down the mulch.
For more information about mulch, contact a local company.