Best time to mulch

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Should I Mulch in Spring, Fall or Before Winter?

A fresh blanket of mulch makes your landscape look polished. Your flowers’ color pops more against a dark background. Even the borders in your garden look sharper.

That covering looks great, but it actually does way more than that! It can reduce weeds, conserve water and add nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. And that’s not even all the benefits!

You know you need to add it. The only question is when!

Read on to find the right time of year for you.

When is the best time to mulch in the Northeast and across the U.S.?

If we had to pick, spring is probably better than fall. But there are merits for both seasons. Run through our checklist below to see which season is right for you.

Is spring the best time for me to mulch?

It is if…

  • You care most about reducing annual weeds in your garden. Since of these plants start growing in spring, blocking the sunlight can be a super effective way to make sure they never see the light of day!
  • You mostly want a fresh, clean look. The rest is all bonus!
  • You’re patient. You should wait until mid-to-late spring. Most people do this too early in the season. That can end up trapping cold moisture and ultimately delaying when plants emerge in spring.

Should I be laying mulch in the fall?

Maybe! Are you…

  • Super busy in spring? If your to-do list in the garden is never-ending in spring, make it easy on yourself. Handle this now so that you won’t have to worry about it later!
  • Not that concerned with aesthetics? If you mulch now, the color will likely dull and may look a bit lackluster by spring.
  • Living in an area with a super cold winter? Insulate your plants with mulch–especially if you added lots of newbies to your garden this year. Just be sure to wait after there have been a few freezes. Around Thanksgiving is a great time.

Before winter, should I refresh or re-mulch?

You should if…

  • You have lots of perennials. Have you ever seen these flowers lift out of the ground during or after winter? As the soil freezes and thaws, it expands and contracts, which can push flowers out of their home. A protective laying can lower the chance of that happening by moderating the soil temperature.
  • Your yard is filled with evergreens galore. Evergreens often get dry (and then brown) during winter. A covering can help keep the soil moist.

If that’s the case, you can top off what you applied earlier. Remember: there should never be more than two-to-three inches of mulch at once. So, if there’s still an inch left from spring, only add another inch now.

Best Time to Mulch in Houston – When to Mulch: Spring vs. Fall

When is the best time to lay mulch? How often should you mulch? We’ll answer these two important questions today. There are some details and tips you simply must know. And our mission is to deliver those.

Most of us notice mulch for its beautification factor. It really does make the landscaping look nice and tidy. But there’s more to mulch than meets the eye.

Why Mulch?

Beyond the fact that it looks good, mulch has a very practical purpose. Mulch helps reduce weeds up to 85%. It conserves water and lends itself to erosion control. And it assists with adding nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. It works to maintain soil temperature for optimal plant growth. Mulch can even make some plants grow faster. This is why it’s great to know when to mulch! There are so many benefits.

When Is the Best Time to Mulch?

The main question is: Should I mulch in spring or fall? The best time is when the weather becomes consistently warm. The mulch you lay will slow down the soil’s warming. Add it too early, and you’ll stunt your plants’ growth.

Too late, and your plants and lawn won’t receive maximum benefit. They won’t absorb many nutrients that way.

Consider these questions as you think about rising temperatures, the warm spring season, and the best time to mulch in Houston:

Do You Have the Best Mulch for Texas?

Some people mulch for appearance. But you may be better off using bark or stone in that case. Most apply mulch for a reason beyond aesthetics. Think about function and climate over style. Do you need to control weeds? Do you need to conserve water for your plants?

Have You Stripped Away Your Existing Mulch?

Mulch should remain around 3 inches deep. Don’t just pour mulch on top of older mulch. Plants need room to breathe and grow. Don’t overload your yard with too much. Too much of a good thing can wreck your plans.

Have the Perennials of Your Lawn Emerged Yet?

Best time to mulch flower beds? Keep this in mind. Be sure your perennials have popped up already. Don’t bury them! They won’t stand a chance then.

Have You Weeded the Area?

You may be mulching to help with weeds. You certainly want to remove all weeds from the area before you mulch. No one wants to see these pesky weeds alive and well after all the work of introducing new mulch. But they will continue to thrive if you don’t handle them upfront.

Have You Experienced Rain in the Last Several Days?

Mulch helps to lock in moisture. If you add it without water, you’re setting yourself up for a dry, unhealthy situation. The best time to apply mulch is after rain. Rain is good in this case. If rain isn’t in the forecast, water the area (with a hose or sprinkler) before laying the mulch.

You’ve got enough on your plate. Use Zodega TIS’s commercial lawn care services and trust us with what you need and when you need it. We’re the professionals. Our team understands the ins and outs of Houston lawn care.

When to Put Down Mulch in Spring

When to put down mulch in the season of spring? For Houston, you’re usually looking at either late April or early May. In spring, you’ll often notice those annoying weeds on your lawn first. Blocking sunlight can be effective in combating them.

Tip: Be patient. You want to lock in warm temps and moisture with your mulch. Cold moisture can delay your plants growth. Wait for that mid to late springtime.

When to Put Down Mulch in the Fall

Should I mulch my lawn in the fall? You can if you’re super busy in the spring and never get around to the chore. In Texas, we’re not so much worried with super cold winters. We don’t see foot after foot of snow. Seasonal mulching (in the fall) helps with insulation. Especially if your plants are young ones. The mulch will essentially trap heat for the winter. Thanksgiving is a good time to do this if it suits your landscaping plan better.

But if you want the fresh, neat appeal, then spring is the best time of year to lay mulch. A fall mulch will be faded by April of the following year. Zodega TIS’s residential lawn services in Houston is here for you. We’ll work with you to be sure your green space is obtaining all the nutrients and care it needs.

How Often Should You Mulch Your Lawn?

Re-mulching isn’t a bad idea if you do it correctly. But be sure you follow our tips above. You only want about 3 inches of mulch. Discard older mulch. Give your plants room to thrive. We recommend laying mulch every year, ideally in the spring. The fresh layer will protect your plants from insects and pests while also ensuring optimal growth.

Don’t wait. Spring is upon us. Contact Zodega TIS for a quote today!

When is the best time to put down new mulch?

Mulch serves numerous purposes in our gardens, apart from looking fresh and manicured.

It helps your garden soil to retain moisture; blocks the growth of weeds; adds nutrients to the soil as it composts and breaks down; moderates the temperature of the soil; and adds support to the roots of the plants and trees. However, your soil will be adversely affected when mulch is applied at the wrong time of year.

So, when is the best time to put down new mulch?

If you’re mulching your garden beds for Summer, the best time to put down the mulch is in the Spring. Either late April or early May is an ideal time because the weather has become consistently warm and the soil has warmed to allow plant growth. It is wise to strip away the old mulch before laying down fresh mulch, not to exceed a 3 inch deep layer. This will allow plants to breath. Prior to putting the new mulch down, you should make sure your garden is free of weeds. Also, if it has not rained for a while prior to mulching, water your garden well to saturate the soil and then mulch. Taking these steps will ensure a successful garden.

By putting down a layer of mulch in the winter, it serves as an insulating blanket and protects the root systems of the plants from fluctuating temperatures. This thick layer of mulch should be laid after the first hard freeze. This allows plants not harmed by the freeze to go into dormancy until Spring. As with the layer of mulch put down in Spring, you would prepare your garden in much the same manner.

Winter mulch can also prevent damage from the cold to plant parts above the ground.

The mulch at Wood Materials is all organic and is sourced from locally grown materials. We sell Pine Bark Mulch and WM Mixed Wood Mulch, an economical mix of aged hard and soft wood used as top dress mulch or early season soil conditioner.

Don’t underestimate the power of mulch. It does great things for your landscape.

Sure, flowers are brighter, shrubs are bigger and nothing says lush like a rolling carpet of green lawn.

But without mulch, your landscape is lacking.

How much do you need? What kind should you use? When’s the best time to mulch?

Stick with us. We know much about mulch.

The Power Of Mulch

A nice layer of mulch helps your soil retain moisture, so you won’t have to water as much. Moist roots are happy roots.

It keeps those pesky weeds at bay by blocking the sunlight they need to sprout.

Mulch protects your plants’ roots — both from the scorching sun and winter’s chill.

It prevents rain from washing away your landscape soil.

As time passes, you’ll notice your organic mulch will settle and look thin. That means it’s breaking down, enriching your soil and making it more fertile.

So even when it’s worn out, mulch is still hard at work to improve your landscape.

The Beauty Of Mulch

Yes, mulch is practical, but it’s also beautiful. As soon as that nice fresh layer of mulch goes down, your landscape looks instantly put together, well tended and tidy.

Mulch ties everything together, as well as adding some texture and color to your beds.

You won’t be able to stop staring at it.

When’s The Best Time To Mulch?

Here in the Washington, DC area, we spread mulch twice a year, in the spring and the fall.

We start preparing planting beds at the end of February, clearing out winter’s debris, neatening edges, cutting back ornamental grasses and perennials.

We follow that by spreading one to two inches of mulch to help beds retain moisture and keep weeds at bay all summer, as well as keeping the landscape looking polished.

When beds need it, we spread a thinner layer of mulch in the fall, just before we replace summer flowers with fall varieties.

How Much Is Enough?

As great as mulch is, there’s such a thing as too much. And too little.

Excess mulch will cause your soil to be soggy, and plant diseases can set in.

If you don’t add enough, it won’t keep weeds from pushing their way through.

Two inches works well for most flower beds.

Choosing The Best Mulch

Our favorite mulch here at Level Green is double shredded hardwood bark mulch. We go the extra step to use dyed dark brown mulch. The added color helps it stay nice and dark longer, without fading as quickly. It costs a bit more, but our customers appreciate the rich, dark look throughout the year.

This is what we use 99 percent of the time, but we happily accommodate customers who prefer black or red hardwood mulch.

And if your property includes a playground, we recommend mulch designed specifically for play surfaces — either clean wood with smooth edges or recycled tire mulch.

At Level Green, We Know Mulch

Still perplexed about mulch? Leave it to us. We’re mulch experts. We know the best time to mulch, how much to spread, as well as what mulch is just right for your landscape.

If you’re not already a Level Green Landscaping client, we’d love to add you to our growing list of happy customers. Our focus is on commercial properties like offices, mixed-use sites, HOAs, municipalities and institutions in Maryland, Washington DC and parts of Virginia.

Contact us at 202-544-0968. You can also request a free consultation online to meet with us one-on-one.

We’d love to hear from you.

Mulching your flower beds and garden is a popular lawn care task this time of year. The problem is, most people apply mulch too late in the season, lessening its benefit. To understand the logic behind this theory, the experts at Custom Lawn are breaking down why we mulch in the first place.

Related Read: 5 Easy Tips to Get a Head Start on Your Spring Lawn Care

Why Mulch Matters for Your Yard

Mulch is not just something to do for the sole purpose of enhancing the look of your yard, although it certainly does that. Mulching is the single most important thing you can do for your garden every year for several reasons …

  • Suppresses weeds.
  • Holds in moisture that would quickly evaporate without it.
  • Regulates soil temperature.
  • Improves the soil’s structure, which leads to better drainage and use of nutrients.

Related Read: Don’t Delay! Spring Weed Control Starts Sooner Than You Think

Why Is March Prime Time for Mulch?

Just as weeding and removing leaves is easier to do before new bulbs and perennials pop up, the same goes for mulching. The soil is still weed-free, herbaceous plants are just beginning to grow, and the soil is starting to warm up a little, which means it’s the perfect window to lay your mulch while avoiding other plants’ lifecycles.

How Much Mulch Do I Need?

When it comes to mulch, more is definitely not better! Applying an overly thick layer of mulch can do more harm than good since it’s likely to encourage fungal disease and possibly even kill your plants. To be sure your yard gets just the right amount of mulch, it’s best to leave this task to the pros.

Generally, the proper amount of mulch ranges from 2-3 inches. Adding mulch yearly, will also help protect the bases of your plants from nematode insects, which can literally wipe out an entire landscape if given free access to your plants.

Related Read: 3 Reasons Professional Lawn Mowing Is Worth Paying For

What’s the Best Kind of Mulch to Use in Kansas City?

In the Kansas City area, the best mulch, by far, is the hardwood variety. Why? Because it’s less attractive to insects, it spreads easily, and stays put in the rain, unlike other popular types of mulch such as pine bark.

Get More from Your Mulch with Custom Lawn & Landscape

There’s more to mulch than just placing the right kind and amount in your yard, which is why many turn to the experts at Custom Lawn & Landscape to get the job done right. In addition to making sure your yard gets the right kind and amount of mulch, we make the most of your mulch by doing the following:

  1. We apply a pre-emergent to your mulch in order to keep weeds at bay and to create a barrier which makes them less likely to grow in the future.
  2. We make sure your mulch is applied correctly to avoid giving insects and pests easy access to your home.

When Is the Best Time to Add Mulch?

Fresh, neat-looking mulch can do wonders for your landscaping. Mulch serves a number of purposes: it 1) helps your yard retain moisture, 2) prevents weeds, 3) adds nutrients to your soil, 4) moderates soil temperature, and 5) supports your plants’ roots. Plus, it will boost your yard’s appearance. Applying mulch is tricky, though—you can’t add it too early or too late in the year, otherwise, your soil will suffer. So when is the best time to add mulch? Nixa Lawn Service answers this question in today’s blog.

It’s best to add mulch when the weather becomes consistently warm. Mulch will slow soil’s warming, so adding it too early can stunt plant growth, and adding too late won’t allow your lawn and plants to absorb as many nutrients (not to mention how hot it will be when you’re working out in the sun!). That said, applying mulch in late April or early May is ideal.

It’s not all about the temperature, though. When that warm weather rolls around, ask yourself these questions before adding mulch:

Do You Have the Right Kind of Mulch?

You can’t apply mulch until you know what kind you need, which depends on your purpose for adding mulch. Some homeowners apply mulch, not for appearance, but solely to serve a function (like reducing evaporation or controlling weeds). In these cases, you might not want to purchase mulch from a store—you might want to use leaves, grass clippings, or compost.

But if you’re landscaping your front lawn or another area you want to show off, take aesthetics into consideration. You’ll probably want to purchase bark, stone, or tumbled glass mulch.

Related Post: How to Choose Mulch for Landscaping

Have Your Perennials Emerged?

If you’re adding mulch to an area where you’ve planted perennials, you’ll want to make sure they’ve begun to pop up before mulching. Otherwise, you could unintentionally bury them.

Related Post: Why Mulching Is Important

Have You Removed Some of the Existing Mulch?

Our recommendation is that your layer of mulch stays around 3 inches deep. That way, it will give plants plenty of support and room to grow without stifling them. Strip away some of the existing mulch before adding the fresh stuff so you don’t overload your yard.

Have You Thoroughly Weeded the Area?

If one of your reasons for mulching is weed control, this is a must. Weeds will only continue to grow and spread if you leave them in the ground before mulching.

Has There Been Rain in the Last Few Days?

Mulch helps your soil retain moisture, but it can’t do its job if you add mulch when your soil is dry. If it hasn’t rained in a while but you’re ready to mulch, water your soil and plants before adding.

Remember, applying mulch might feel exhausting, but doing it (and doing it correctly!) will save you effort later in the year.

Call Nixa Lawn Service Today

No time or energy to add mulch yourself? Don’t worry! The pros at Nixa Lawn Service would be happy to help with this or any other project. We offer full-service lawn care, from weekly mowing and aerating to overseeding and irrigation. Plus, we can adorn your landscaping with new lighting, water features, and more! Call (417) 724-0318 or contact us online to get started today.

Life Without Lawn

As a qualified horticulturist, soil scientist, and all-round know-it-all when it comes to plants, I am generally asked how to grow things, rather than how to kill them. But, of late, I have noticed a shift. My inbox is full of requests on how to kill an Aussie icon… the lawn. Now, normally I would be disturbed by green-thumbs turning brown, but not in this circumstance. Now, before you get on the blower and let me know that killing plants is wrong, let me explain.

The bulk of lawns, with a couple of excellent environmentally exquisite exceptions, are a monocultural monolith of foreign grass species. Contrary to popular belief, lawns are not low/no maintenance……in fact, most lawns require significant inputs (water, fertilizers, and herbicides, pesticides) to remain even vaguely appealing, not to mention the amount of time, effort and cold hard cash that can go into keeping turf tops! So, if you reckon it’s time to ditch the pitch sustainably, read on.

Turf the Turf – Without Chemicals (of course)

Alright, so you’ve decided to remove the lawn, but don’t know where to start. Well, firstly, don’t reach for those chemicals. Yes, it may be quicker to spray and walk away, but think of the environmental impact of your actions. Heaps of herbicides can do hideous things to frogs, lizards, soil organisms and the soil itself, not to mention non-target plants, and, to be perfectly frank, you don’t really need them in this circumstance.

So, what exactly do you need to set about removing your lawn? Firstly, you need patience… lawn removal doesn’t happen overnight, but, I promise you, it will happen! Secondly, you need newspaper (or thickish cardboard), water, compost and mulch (I reckon straw based is the best). Thirdly, you need to check the weather. If it’s windy outside, retreat to the shed (or the pub) and do something else for the day… newspaper + wind = very annoyed neighbours and a paper covered suburb (trust me, I share this from experience). Now, let’s begin!

1. Grab your newspaper, remove any glossy magazines or inserts, wet it down, and cover the lawn area. The newspaper needs to be at least 15 pages thick, but, to be honest, the thicker the better. Essentially, you want the paper to break down nice and slowly over time. If using cardboard, remove any stray bits of packing tape and sticky tape, cut boxes flat, and lay this directly onto the area you wish to kill.

2. It is really important to make sure the edges of your newspaper/cardboard overlap. I reckon about 10cm is good, as this stops cheeky little weeds and persistent grasses peeking out between the gaps. Now it’s time to cover the paper.

3. If the area is to be planted out in the future, but not immediately, I would suggest applying a nice 5cm layer (or more, if you have it) of compost, followed by a 7cm layer of mulch (go the straw mulch). Essentially, the finished area should look like a “trifle”… a few different layers of goodness to smother your lawn and improve your soil at the same time. But be warned that straw mulch can be blown off or even disturbed by the kids or family dog running across. So another 5cm layer of pine bark mulch on top would help solve this problem. And don’t worry – there’s no such thing as too many layers in this little exercise.

4. If the area is to be planted out immediately, your best bet is to import an appropriate growing media and compost blend (generally three parts soil to one part compost) and cover the paper with this, followed by a nice 7cm layer of straw based mulch. The depth of the soil will vary depending on what you are wanting to plant, but, as a rule, the deeper the better (look at about 20-30cm as a minimum). Avoid importing fill or topsoil, as this gear often comes from unsustainable sources and can be full of weed seed. If in doubt, ask your supplier for the origins of the soil. You can then plant straight into this area.

5. If you are converting the area into a space with no plantings whatsoever (eg: pathways, heavy traffic areas, open spaces) you have a couple of options. As the paper breaks down over time, you may wish to consider an alternative base layer. Now, before you rush out and buy metres of plastic, consider the long term impact of this on soil health. Plastics are not porous, so neither water nor air can reach the soil beneath. This in turn will kill every living creature and micro-organism within the soil and degrade the soil itself. It can also lead to significant issues regarding run-off and ponding of water after irrigations events or rain. A safer option is woven fabric weed matting, which allows for air and water movement, or jute/hessian matting, especially handy if working on steep slopes. Once this has been laid, cover the area with appropriate mulch.

Trouble shooting…

Alright, this is all good and well in theory, but there are a few niggling questions that need addressing. So here they be:

What’s the story with the inks in the newspapers… surely that can’t be good for the soil?
Well, according to the Publishers National Environment Bureau, the inks used to print newspapers and magazines in Australia are completely safe. Black and colour inks have no added heavy metals and contain either vegetable oils produced from crops like soya beans and canola, or non-hazardous mineral oils of very high purity. Most inks actually use a mixture of these two types of oil. Oils comprise about 50% of newspaper ink – the rest is made up of pigment, resins and solvents. In the grand scheme of things, it’s pretty safe… just remember to avoid the glossy and heavily coloured stuff.

Can’t I just use newspaper on its own?
Short answer… no! Newspaper can act as a bit of a wick, and acts to draw water out of the soil rather than keep it in. The most successful way to smother lawns and weeds while improving the soil is to add as much organic matter over the paper/cardboard as possible. It will encourage the worms, and, by the time it has all broken down, you should have a magic, grass free soil, ready to be planted.

What about solarisation?
Solarisation is the process whereby grass, weeds and the like are effectively “cooked” under a sheet of plastic. Solarisation is an excellent way of killing grasses and weeds that have significant soil seed banks, but has the potential to go a bit pear shaped. For starters, there is a bit of discussion regarding the best type of plastic for effective solarisation. Most studies conducted have shown that clear plastic works best, but there are a few pre-conditions.

Firstly, the plants have to be actively growing, so it is important to identify the grass species, and do a bit of research as to its active growing period.

Secondly, solarisation can take upwards of four weeks (of pretty consistent sunlight and fairly decent temperatures), so this is not a quick process.

When laying the plastic, try to minimize the amount of air between the soil and the plastic. You can do this by burying the edges of the plastic, and weighting it down. This increases the heat generated between the plastic and the soil, and will be far more effective.

Now, while solarisation may have its benefits, it also has some problems as well. While it is a great way to kill off any weed seed and nasty pathogens in the soil, the impact of solarisation on soil health and biotic activity is not fantastic, so organic matter should be added at the end of the solarisation period to help “Kick-start” your soil again.

Oh, and for goodness sake, when you remove the plastic, apply mulch or a green manure crop ASAP! This will prevent a recolonisation of grasses and weeds cause, as we all know, grasses and weeds are mad for bare soil.

As far as I am concerned, less lawn to grow is less lawn to mow, but I know this isn’t always a popular opinion. But if, like me, you want to convert lawn space to productive space, this guide should do the trick.

Learn The Basics Of Applying Mulch

You may have probably read or heard about the many benefits that mulch provides. Mulch is simply your garden’s best friend. Mulch controls weeds, retains soil moisture, regulates soil temperature, and gives nutrients to the soil. Mulch does all these and more.

As simple as mulching may seem, you do not just apply mulch on your garden plants, relax, and expect your plants to grow healthily. Choosing the type of mulch and how you apply it are equally important in ensuring that you are doing it correctly and not causing harm to your plants.

Choosing the correct mulch

Mulch is basically divided into organic and inorganic types. Organic mulch is made up of natural materials that decay over time. The best examples of organic mulch are autumn leaves, grass clippings, shredded barks, and wood. It is easy to apply and is safe for both the plants and the soil.

Inorganic mulch, on the other hand, is made up of small stones, river rocks, crushed gravel and granite. Not all plants benefit from this type of mulch because they do not really give any nutrients.

When to apply mulch

There is really no exact time to apply mulch. It can be done anytime, but is most ideal when applied before the dry season.

Basic guidelines when applying mulch

  • Before you apply mulch, it would be more beneficial to remove weeds first. Pull out weeds as you see them. When you cannot remove weeds, the next best thing to do is to cut off their heads.
  • Apply just the right amount of mulch. It should be thick enough to stop sunlight from penetrating but not too thick to harbour pests.
  • Do not pile mulch against the stem of plants of trunk of trees. This can attract pests and cause diseases, as well as cause the plant to rot and die. Leave a little space for your plants to breathe.
  • Refresh organic mulch at least once every year. Dig the mulch into the soil to allow it to complete its decomposition, then apply a new layer over the old one.
  • For added weed control, putting down two to three layers of newspaper under the mulch will control and eliminate weeds. Make sure to punch holes on the newspaper and wet it before covering with mulch.
  • Know your plants and choose the correct mulch. Most plants will require the organic mulch, but there are some that live with organic mulch.
  • Finally, a proper mulching technique is essential for plants under stress or for newly planted ones.

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