Mulch — Any material used to cover soil for the purpose of enrichment.
So you have been told to put mulch down in your yard. We have put together a little crash course to help you better understand the benefits of mulch.
#1: It Makes Your Yard Look Better
Mulch improves the aesthetic value of any garden, home, or green patch of earth. When the neighbors see the extra attention you’ve put into your yard, they’ll be jealous they didn’t think of it first. They might have to step up their yard game just to match you.
Pro-tip: There are several color options to choose from to make your yard extra attractive. Visit a garden or mulch shop near you to see what options are available.
#2: Weed Protection
Mulch around your trees and shrubs to keep unattractive weeds from leaching nutrients off them. The mulch acts as a protective barrier preventing weeds from getting into the soil by your trees.
Pro-tip: Make sure you’ve eradicated all the weeds near your greenery before you lay down the mulch. Otherwise they’ll grow through, and you’ll have to disturb the mulch to remove the weeds.
#3: Moisture Protection
Trees need as much moisture as they can get to transport nutrients up from their roots into their leaves. Mulch traps moisture, preventing a tree from the harmful effects of drying. It also traps heat, a valuable benefit in Wisconsin where the temperatures and weather change drastically.
Pro-tip: There are several types of mulch available for purchase including rock, straw, and rubber mulch. Buckley Tree Service recommends wood-based mulch (wood chips) for tree and shrub protection.
#4: Added Enrichment for Plants
As wood mulch decomposes, it offers much needed nutrients. The nutrients are transported from the soil to the roots and voila! You have additional tree food.
Pro-tip: For even greater nutrient saturation, add tree fertilizer.* There’s no need to remove the mulch to apply the fertilizer. Just lay it on top.
#5: Soil Erosion Protection
Wind and water has the capability of blowing or washing the organic matter from the top layer of your soil. Losing this topsoil weakens your trees’ and shrubs’ ability to gain nutrients from the ground. Mulch acts as a protecting layer shielding topsoil from eroding.
Pro-tip: When laying down the mulch, keep the wood chips at a depth of 3-4 inches. Any more and oxygen will have trouble getting to the roots (you want oxygen getting to the roots). Also leave 1 – 2 inches of space between the mulch and the base of the tree/bush. Put mulch too close to the base will cause trunk rot.
To a tree, mulch is a protective shield against nutrient-sapping weeds and soil erosion. Mulch improves your tree’s health by trapping moisture, providing extra nutrients when decomposing, and preserving the roots from harsh temperatures (especially in cold Wisconsin winters).