Arbor Enterprises, a full-service landscape company, specializes in residential landscape design and installation. One of the services that the team offers to clients is mulching.
What Is Mulch?
Mulch is a layer or covering of material applied directly to the ground. Natural occurrences of mulch are found in deciduous forests where annually thick layers of leaves are deposited on the forest floor. Pine forests drop needles year-round, creating a smooth, cushiony, auburn mat.
Benefits of Mulch
Boosts curb appeal
Mulch improves the beauty of both residential and commercial landscapes. Most property owners think of mulch as an aesthetic enhancement rather than as a soil amendment. The right color and texture of mulch create interest and contrast. A dark mulch can define perimeters and draw attention to a fountain, statue, or bench.
Makes the soil fertile and healthy
Organic mulch eventually rots and enriches the soil. Earthworms eat the mulch and deposit droppings that fertilize the soil, making it rich with nutrients that plants and shrubs love.
Conserves soil moisture
Mulch keeps existing moisture in the soil by inhibiting evaporation. Mulch is porous and absorbs moisture from precipitation and irrigation. During an extended dry spell, mulch can prevent moisture from light rain from making its way into the soil. During these dry spells, homeowners are advised to thoroughly water flowerbeds, shrubs, and trees that have been mulched, especially if the mulch layer is thick.
Hinders weed growth
Mulch is a favorite natural weed blocker. In tandem with a premium quality polyethylene woven geotextile landscape fabric, mulch will make weeds struggle to take hold in a flower garden or footpath. Mulch decays, creating an unseen layer of soil that will harbor seeds that eventually germinate. However, the root system will be shallow, stunting the growth of the weeds and allowing the homeowner or lawn maintenance technician to easily remove weeds without damaging bedding plants.
Prevents soil erosion on slopes and pathways
In the appropriate size, density, and texture, mulch can suppress soil erosion along slopes and pathways. A dense, heavy mulch is less prone to wash away or be blown away in severe weather conditions. However, sustained heavy rainfall will have an impact on a mulched area. That slope, flower bed, or walking path may need to be refreshed after a major deluge.
Regulates soil temperature
Mulch can retain soil warmth. This insulating property can keep plants from being killed during a cold snap in the late winter and early spring. Early seedlings and transplants need this protection against the cold. By preventing heat loss during cold nights, mulch encourages plant growth. The stabilization of the soil temperature limits freeze-thaw damage in perennials.
Makes playground areas safer
One of the properties of layered mulch is its cushiony softness. This feature is why so many backyard playgrounds have a deep layer of mulch in the play area.
How Deep Should the Mulch Be?
An online home and garden resource offers the following advice about the proper depth of mulch: “Over-mulching, especially erecting ‘mulch volcanoes’ around the bases of trees and shrubs, can lead to problems with insect and rodent infestation. Plus, mulch that is too deep can cause a buildup of excess moisture in the root zone, which can stress the plant and lead to root rot. Most professionals recommend limiting your layer of mulch to a depth of between two and four inches.”
What Types of Organic Mulch Are Available?
A wide variety of organic materials can be used as mulch, including bark chips, wood chips, pine needles, and straw. Cedar, cypress, and oak are popular mulches. Synthetic mulches are made from recycled rubber tires, plastics, polypropylene, and polyethylene.
Is Mulch Available in Different Colors?
Mulch is available in many different colors, from light-colored pine shavings to dark brown pine bark nuggets. Synthetic mulches are commonly available in black, red, and brown, and custom colors are available to match a business’ brand colors. Some mulch vendors stain organic mulches to obtain the desired color. Dyed brown mulches and black mulches maintain their color integrity the longest.
The landscape design professionals at Arbor Enterprises are mulch experts and provide the following mulching services:
- bed location, layout, edging, and preparation to receive the mulch
- mulch type and color selection
- procurement and application at the residence or business
- mulch bed cleanout and refreshing
Paige Moody and her team of landscape professionals are always happy to discuss landscape design/build or maintenance questions in more detail. To schedule an appointment for a landscape installation consultation, contact the office of Arbor Enterprises at (919) 542-6765.