Top 5 Reasons to Mulch in the Spring
Spring brings flowers, bright budding leaves, storms – and the smell of fresh mulch. It’s finally getting warmer, and many of us are itching to get out and work (play) in our gardens.
Here are the top five reasons to mulch in the spring.
1. Mulch Insulates the Soil and Retains Moisture
Think of mulch like a blanket: it covers roots, moderating soil temperatures and moisture levels. As our St. Louis area springs have historically erratic weather swings, mulch will protect and equalize the soil conditions, effectively decreasing stress on your plants’ roots. Additionally, plant roots stay cooler and more resilient to summer heat and drought so they can thrive throughout the growing season. Insulated soil doesn’t lose as much water from evaporation as unprotected soil does. As a result, you may be able to water less. NOTE: this is not an excuse not to water your trees; always check the soil during hot, dry summer months and water when needed. Here’s a watering guide.
2. Mulch in Spring to Suppress Weeds
A 3-4 inch layer of mulch can smother spring-sprouting weeds. When prepare your gardens for the growing season, we can also apply a pre-emergent that ceases weed germination – literally nipping them in the bud!
3. Mulch Provides Nutrients for Your Plants
In the forest, fallen leaves and decomposing material provide the best soil environment a plant could hope for. We can mimic that benefit by spreading mulch in the spring. As mulch slowly breaks down, it adds nutrients to the soil throughout the growing season, giving roots a healthy boost. Research shows plants that are mulched develop finer root hairs and thus can absorb more water and nutrients. As a result, plants are better equipped to defend themselves against pests and diseases and be more resilient to other environmental stressors.
4. Mulch Can Reduce Damage and Soil Compaction
- Mulch prevents damage. Mulch forms a barrier between tree trunks and grass to minimize the chance of equipment damage. Lawnmowers and string trimmers can wound tree trunks and branches, which may sever the tissue that conducts the flow of nutrients and water. Wounds also leave openings for insects and fungus to enter.
- Mulch prevents and relieves soil compaction. Spreading a wide ring of mulch creates an implied barrier, which reduces the likelihood of human traffic that would compact the soil surrounding the roots. Also, mulch provides an ideal environment for beneficial insects and microorganisms, whose activity creates more pore space in the soil which can relieve compaction.
5. And Finally, Mulch Makes Your Garden Look Good!
Fresh mulch in the landscape brings cohesion to your planting beds. A good edge between your plants and grass adds a sharp crisp, clean border. Shapes such as squares and circles or sweeping edges further define your garden style. Cover lighting wires.
One Final Word
Whatever you do, DO NOT volcano mulch! What’s that? It’s when mulch is piled up against tree trunks. These mulch volcanoes have many negative implications:
- Promote excessive soil moisture that can cause root rot and decay
- Encourage girdling roots
- Increase vulnerability to pests and disease infestations
When you are mulching, keep the trunk exposed to the point that you can see it tapering outward. Leave a few inches, then spread a 3-4 inch deep ring over the root zone. We call this “donut mulching”. We like donuts.
Give us a call for any of your planting, bed maintenance, and mulching needs.
We were very pleased with the service and particularly the knowledge & professionalism of your staff. We would certainly recommend you.
We are very pleased with the plantings suggested by and picked out by Mike. The men arrived on time to plant the boxwood and witch hazel tree; dug out the stump and cleaned up. They were pleasant and helpful – we couldn’t have asked for a better team.
We were very pleased and impressed with Dan and his team. We love our new trees and garden.
Thank you so much for all the information you provide – the watering information, the emails and the flier. I read it all and have learned so much. My magnolia trees look surprisingly healthy considering the way they looked when I first called.
Kevin Seger provided expert advice and recommendations about tree maintenance and removal. He listened to my needs and provided a thorough and affordable proposal. On the day of the job, I was very impressed with crew leader, Dave and his team (Felix & Adam). They were professional, efficient, hard-working and very neat about clean-up.
An outstanding job on the four trees and clean-up after the work and removal. We would be happy to recommend your services to everyone – the best tree service we ever have had here in St. Louis.
Kevin was able to come out the same day I called and a crew was out the next day! Great prompt service. I was not at home when the work was done but results show they did a fine job.
Everyone came through as usual when I needed the crew to come back & take out the balance of the fire blight. They did not have a bucket the first time and were so nice and professional about coming back again.
Thank you again for responding to our urgent need after the storm took down our 2 trees & deposited them across our driveway. Your crew, as always, did a fabulous job. Professional, courteous & it is a pleasure doing business with your company.
We appreciate your knowledge and professionalism. Your employees are prompt and courteous and willing to do whatever needs to be done to complete the project. Cleanup was great.