You may see mulch applied to many landscapes and gardens and wonder what is the exact purpose of the material? Mulch has a long history, being used for many years to suppress weed growth, encourage the growth of certain plants and maintain soil moisture and temperature. Mulch is usually composed of organic nature such as bark, manure, compost, woodchips, gravel or manmade materials like rubber or plastic.
When organic mulches decompose, they break down to improve the soil. Inorganic mulches do not break down to add enrichment to the soils but are a very common mulch type. Many inorganic materials like black plastic will provide warmth to the soil, which is beneficial to many plants that like heat (such as tomatoes). Applying the right amount of mulch is crucial. Mulch is usually added to the ground at the end of Spring to the beginning of Summer for the best results. It can be added throughout the year through different seasons.
For adding mulch, apply one inch to cover a flower bed or lawn. If you need mulch to control weed growth, you need 2-4 inches. However, if you are growing vegetables during the winter, you will need about 4-6 inches. Do not over-mulch areas as this will lead to plant suffocation. Mulch comes in a variety of different colors with the most common being red, black and brown. It has a variety of different styles to suit your needs from basic solid colors to more decorative, light-reflecting gravel.
Pre-emergent fertilizer is an herbicide which helps to block an essential enzyme that weeds feed off of to germinate. This will prevent the weed from breaking the barrier and growing in the lawn but does not mean it will completely stop the germination process. Pre-emergent fertilizer needs to bind with a regular fertilizer in order to work properly. It should be used in the early Spring before annual crabgrass and weeds begin to grow. This adds a chemical barrier to prevent weeds from growing, while not harming any plants that surround the weeds. The pre-emergent barrier will break down in 6-8 weeks, so give plenty of time to plant this fertilizer before weeds, crabgrass and dogwood begin to grow. Pre-emergent fertilizer and regular fertilizer can be combined together as an early lawn treatment for a preventative weed method. Ask us about treating your lawn today!
Edging is a way to establish landscape borders and separate the lawn from the garden areas. Edging materials are most commonly made up of plastic, steel or aluminum. Many people decide to choose aluminum since it’s sleek and disappears into the lawn. Concrete and brick can also be used as an edging material, creating a beautiful design with flowers spilling over the edge (without allowing grass to grow in between). You can even have edging with a stone wall, to add depth to flat gardens. This will create visual interest to any landscape.
Inevitably, a few weeds will pop up even with every preventative method in place. Weeds are a nuisance, and can even threaten plant life by “suffocating” them and depriving them of nutrients and oxygen. Weeds can come in many different forms, from dandelions and crabgrass to name a few. When your lawn has a few weeds with shallow roots like crabgrass or chickweed, you can hand pull them. For weeds with deep roots like dandelion and perennial, you can hand pull them, but a piece of the weed will often be left in the ground. This can regrow the weed or even spread weed seeds to encourage more weeds to grow. To prevent weeds from forming or growing back, apply plenty of mulch and use a crabgrass and weed preventer.