Using Mulch to Stop Weeds
by Lee Wyatt
(last updated September 1, 2021)
Using mulch to stop weeds is one of the best, and greenest, ways possible to protect your plants. However, before you go out and buy the first bag of mulch that you come across, there are a few things that you need to know. Here are some simple guidelines that you can use to ensure that you choose the best possible mulch for your needs.
- Benefits of using mulch. Basically speaking, mulch is one of the best tools that you can have in your gardening arsenal. The reasons for this is simple, this wonderful material will save you time, money, and effort when gardening. By properly using mulch, you can limit the amount of water you need to apply to your plants to keep them health, while also protecting them from weeds and other pests. Another great benefit from using mulch, is that if you use an organic one, it will also act as a slow release fertilizer that can actually help your soil.
- Drawbacks of mulch. For every good there is also a bad, and it is no different with mulch. One of the problems that mulch has is one of its benefits as well, it retains heat and moisture. This can be good during the early spring, and late fall. However, if you use too much mulch during the summer, or apply too much water, you can literally steam the roots of your plants. Make sure that you always use the proper amount of mulch for your specific plant, and the seasonal conditions.
- What type of mulch to use? There are tons of mulches out there that you can choose from. These can be made from everything under the sun. Some of the most common types are made from shredded bark, leaves and grass, compost, and even rubber.
- Using mulch properly. Each type of mulch is basically used in a similar manner, which is to lay a bed of material around the base of your plant. This base will be, on average, between one inch and three inches thick. Typically, you use a lower thickness around smaller plants, while you use thicker amounts around larger plants (such as trees). Ideally, when you are using a mulch, you should use something that is organic. That way you are not only helping to protect the plant, but also helping to restore the nutrients that the plant removes. However, if you are simply looking for something to make your landscape "pretty" then this doesn't matter as much.