Mulching is a way to add nutrients and organic material to your soil. It can keep your plants from being exposed to too much water or cold, which protects them from certain problems, while still allowing some water through. Mulch also prevents weed growth around your plants.
There are many benefits of mulching trees, from increasing the health and growth rates of your trees to protecting them from weeds.
To have a healthy tree, it’s important to use mulch correctly around the base of the tree. The first step is deciding what type of mulch you want to apply. Some people prefer organic or wood-based mulches because they look better and decompose more easily over time, while others may choose inorganic mulches like gravel or rocks because they last longer.
There are five different types of mulches:
1. Wood chips, such as pine bark nuggets
These are darker in colour and decompose slower than other types
These have a high carbon-to-nitrogen ratio but break down quickly. Leaves also compact easily and may not be good for new plantings.
3. Grass clippings
They biodegrade more rapidly than leaves but do not offer the same from cold or moisture. Be careful with grass that has been treated with chemicals.
This decomposes slowly and can inhibit moisture penetration into soils, so it is best to use it in moderation. It also may compact over time.
5. Shredded bark
This is brownish and provides good weed control without compaction issues or loss of nutrients through decomposition. Shredded bark also adds organic matter to your soil.
Use a garden hose or rope to mark an outline of where your tree is planted. This will help you achieve a more even mulch depth and prevent over-mulching which can suffocate the tree roots.
Begin laying down your mulch around the edge of the planter bed, using a shovel if it is thick enough. This will create a barrier between pests, fungus, and weed growth from entering our sustainable garden ecosystem
If you are using mulch made from leaves, grass clippings, or shredded bark, you will need about three cubic feet for every 100 square feet of garden space; if you are using wood chips (pine bark nuggets), then plan on two cubic feet per 100 square feet of garden space; and if you choose to use sawdust, use one cubic foot per 100 square feet.
Each mulching material has numerous benefits and drawbacks, and you should choose the one that best fits your needs. You will need to replenish your mulching each spring; depending on the type of mulch you choose, this may involve raking up old material or simply adding a thin layer of new material over top.
In general, though, you can lay down a layer of organic matter around 1-2″ thick in the fall after digging up any soil amendments such as compost. Shredded bark is typically sold in bags so it’s fairly easy to transport. Pine bark nuggets come in bulk however they are very small pieces that tend to stick together once wet which makes them difficult to spread.
If you wish to determine how much mulch you need, simply multiply the length by the width of your garden space and divide it by 100 sq ft, then round up or down to the nearest cubic foot. If you have a specific material in mind, keep in mind that a typical 1-cubic-foot bag will cover approximately 10 square feet at a depth of 2 inches, so if you know the dimensions of your garden area as well as the approximate depth desired for your mulch, you can easily figure out how many bags of mulch is needed.
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