LetĎs cover the subject of mulch.† How can I make
mulch sound like a fun subject?† How
about this?† Does less watering sound
like fun?† Does less weeding sound like
fun?† Does more sitting, sipping ice tea,
and enjoying your garden sound like fun?†
Maybe Iíve succeeded in making mulch a fun subject.
So, exactly what is mulch?† The University of California Master Gardener Handbook tells us mulch is ďAny materials
placed on the soil to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature, prevent soil
erosion, or prevent weed growth."
This simple definition explains a lot.† Use
mulch for all these purposes.† Letís look at each
1.To conserve soil moisture - This
allows the soil to soak up and retain more
water.† Apply 2 to 6 inches (depending on
the material), or use a landscape
2.To moderate soil temperature - Mulch
reduces fluctuations in soil temperature that could be harmful to plant roots -
especially young ones.
3.Mulch helps to prevent soil erosion
by lessening the impact of rain on soil surface.
4.Mulch helps to prevent weed growth.† For this purpose apply mulch 1 - 3 inches
Apply mulch in late spring.† Do not lay
mulch next to tree trunks to avoid crown rot and other potential problems.† There are organic and inorganic mulches.† Here is a sampling of organic mulches: bark,
wood chips, sawdust, straw, pine straw, and shredded leaves; and inorganic
mulches: crushed stone, gravel, volcanic rock, and plastics.
When deciding how much mulch, or what type of mulch to use, think tender or
hardy.† For tender, shallow-rooted plants
like vegetables or annuals apply light mulch thinly.† For hardier plants like shrubs, apply mulch
thicker using chipped or shredded wood.† Also
bear in mind that using an undecomposed mulch can temporarily tie up nutrients
at the soil surface.
Mulches look attractive in your landscape, and are beneficial to your plants,
soil, spinal health and free time.† Do
yourself, your yard, and your environment a favor: do some winter planning and then some springtime mulching.
University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener
Volunteers can provide additional gardening information upon
request .Call the San Luis Obispo office at 781-5939 on Mondays and
Thursdays from to .†
You may also call the Paso Robles office at 237-3100 on Wednesdays from to .†
The San Luis Obispo Master Gardeners website is at http://groups.ucanr.org/slomg/.† Questions can be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.