Using mulch in your lawn and garden offers numerous benefits. Mulching provides a simple, affordable solution for keeping your flowers, plants, shrubs and trees healthy year-round.
With a wide variety of mulch options in Bergen County, it’s easy to choose one that provides the best solutions for your landscape.
Mulch adds a protective layer of material that provides great benefits for plants, as well as the soil. Depending on the type of mulch you use, specific benefits can vary, but all types of mulch will help protect your plants and garden beds in some way. Take a look at the many benefits of mulching:
- Protects the soil from erosion
- Retains moisture in the soil, reducing the need for water
- Reduces soil compaction from heavy rains and foot traffic
- Maintains soil temperatures that keep plant roots warm in the winter and cool in the summer
- Protects shallow root plants from frost damage during winter
- Prevents weeds from growing
- Keeps garden vegetables and fruits cleaner
- Keeps your feet clean in damp and rainy weather gardening
- Provides a “finished” look to your garden and landscape
How Much Mulch Should I Use?
For good cover, a mulch layer of about 3 inches is recommended. Before you apply any type of mulch, make sure areas are cleared of all weeds, leaves and grass, so the mulch comes in contact with the soil. Do not apply mulch in direct contact with plants. Leave an inch or so of space next to plants to help prevent excessive humidity that can contribute to plant diseases.
- Grass Clippings – (2 to 3 inches) Keep grass clipping mulch piles a little thinner. Thick layers of grass clippings will rot and compact quickly. You can add additional layers as clippings decompose or dry up.
- Wood and Bark Mulches – (2 to 4 inches) These organic mulches are great around plants, shrubs, trees and in garden beds. Smaller chips are easier to spread, especially around small plants. When spreading mulch around trees, keep the mulch a couple of inches away from the tree trunks.
When Is The Best Time To Apply Mulch?
The best time of year to apply mulch depends on the benefits you hope to achieve from mulching. Mulch provides a type of insulation between the outside air and the soil and keeps ground temperatures more even.
Mulching in the Summer will keep plants and plant roots cooler, while winter mulching will keep plants warm and safe from freezing. However, these same insulating properties make mulched soils slower to warm up in the Spring and slower to cool down in the Fall, as compared to soils that are not mulched.
Mulch for your flower or vegetable gardens should be applied in the Spring after the soil has warmed up. Cool or wet soil will slow down seed germination and increase the risk of decayed seeds and seedlings. Additional layers of mulch should not be added until the soil has warmed up completely and there’s no more signs of frost. Talk to your landscape professional about mulch options in Bergen County and the best times to apply mulch to your landscape.
Winter mulching should be done in late Fall after the ground has frozen, but before the coldest Northern NJ winter temperatures arrive. Although applying mulch earlier may seem reasonable, this can attract rodents looking for a warm home before cold temperatures arrive. Delaying mulch applications will help prevent rodents and outdoor pests from nesting in the mulch. If you’re mulching to protect plants during the Winter, be careful not to use heavy types of mulch that can compact the soil under the weight of snow and ice. One of the benefits of Winter mulch applications is the reduction in the freezing and thawing of the soil in the late Winter and early Spring.
When determining proper mulch options in Bergen County for your home, it’s best to work with a landscape professional who has knowledge and experience with all types of mulches. Organic mulches will need to be replaced as they decompose, so they represent a recurring cost. However, they provide excellent nutrients for your soil and plants. Inorganic mulches may be less expensive and long-lasting, but offer no beneficial nutrients. Talk to a Bergen County landscape company about mulch options in Bergen County that are right for you and the many benefits of mulching for your landscape.