Grow Into a Healthy Mulching Routine This Spring
Mulch is arguably the most versatile tool in your landscape care arsenal – it allows you to get a lot of bang for your buck and keep your lawn looking its best. As such, it is something you do not want to go without. Although it may be tempting to just start spreading mulch in your yard as soon as the temperature begins rising above 60℉, it is important to recognize the best time to apply mulch so you can ensure your yard reaps the maximum benefits.
How to Prepare Your Yard for New Mulch
In addition to its many other benefits, mulch gives your landscape a clean, renewed appearance with fresh color and vibrancy. But before laying new mulch or replacing old, it’s best to check in on your soil underneath. Here are a few tips to prepare for optimal mulching and get your yard in summer-ready condition.
1. Get Your Fertilizer Ready
Winter weather can kill your plants, grass, and trees. To counteract these negative effects, adding fertilizer in the spring can ensure that your yard looks great.
- Fertilize Your Lawn: Be sure to use a lawn fertilizer specifically designed for grass. Typically a slow-release fertilizer will have the best effect on your lawn.
- Fertilize Your Plants: After the last cold snap, give your plants some love with a fertilizer that will give them the nutrients they need.
- Fertilize Your Trees: Even if your trees may not seem like they need fertilizer, it’s not a bad idea to give them extra nutrients. Put a little bit around the base of their trunks to keep them healthy.
Be sure to read the instructions on the fertilizer you buy so that you apply it properly. Too much fertilizer can be a bad thing and will ultimately harm your landscaping.
2. Clean Up Your Gardens and Yard
During the fall and winter months, trees and bushes drop debris like seeds, leaves, and twigs into your yard. Before you can start laying down your new mulch, it is best to clean these up and trim away where needed. Remove all leaves and tree debris from your yard and gardens and mow your lawn often.
By cleaning up your yard and keeping your grass trimmed, you’ll ensure that your grass has the ability to grow in thick. Don’t be afraid of over-mowing your lawn (assuming the weather hasn’t been too dry), if you mow every five to six days your grass will grow in thicker.
Remember to check your garden plants and trees for dead spots that may have appeared over the winter. Make sure to cut out any dead spots. If any plants or flowers are primarily dead, it may be a good idea to remove them completely.
The When, Why, What, and How of Mulch Application
When? In North Central Florida, mulch application is generally best done during mid-to-late spring. If done earlier than this in the season, it can entrap the cold moisture and delay plant growth. Further, laying mulch later in the season allows the soil to warm from the winter weather, making it a more hospitable host for growth. It can better fortify the soil’s nutrients and retain moisture, which is especially important during Florida’s long, hot, dry summer.
Why? The winter can wear away your mulch, making it look dingy and depleted. By laying down a fresh, new layer of mulch, you can reinvigorate your garden beds.
What? We recommend a dyed mulch, cypress blend mulch, or pine bark if you’re considering replacing your mulch. It will make your landscaping look great and has the ability to last. If you’re looking to update your mulch, you can order online or give us a call.
How? Effectively replacing your mulch is not a one-and-done yard activity. Now that you know how to prepare your yard for new mulch, you may be wondering what the best practices are for applying and maintaining your new mulch.
Best Practices for Laying Mulch
Following these steps may seem time-consuming at first glance, but a little extra care will ensure that your mulch does its job to the fullest.
1. First, treat the soil.
After trimming away dead limbs and debris, rake to get rid of the resulting debris and organic matter and to get your mulch beds ready. Then, you can use a tiller or cultivator to turn the soil over to aerate and give the ground the moisture it needs.
Going a step further and smoothing out the soil helps your mulch look more even after application. Finally, manually remove any visible weeds and apply an effective weed repellent to where your mulch will be to help prevent invasive growth.
2. Then, lay the mulch.
When you are ready to apply your mulch, use our handy calculator to figure out how much you may need. When it comes time to lay it in your yard, remember that an ideal depth for your mulch is 2-4 inches. Piling it any thicker may make it too hard for new seedlings to grow through the mulch.
When mulching around trees, apply mulch away from the tree trunks to avoid wood rot. Instead, use the mulch to cover the tree’s underground root system.
3. Sustain your mulch with routine maintenance.
Once you have applied your mulch, keep it looking its best through regular maintenance. Check it routinely to make sure it is not too compacted and loosen as needed. If you find that your mulch has matted down and forms an impenetrable barrier for any growth underneath, it is a good idea to remove it little by little, not to shock your plants and protect them from any late-season cold snaps.
You may be wondering, “How often do I need to replace my mulch?” At Gaston Mulch and Soil, we typically recommend replenishment once per year. But, you may need to replace your mulch more often If you have used organic mulch, as organic mulch decays and breaks down over time.
Gaston Mulch Is Your Healthy Landscape Partner
There is no doubt that mulch is a necessity for your North Central Florida landscape. After preparing your yard, one of the best ways to make sure your mulch gives your trees and plants the maximum nutrients and benefits they need is to use the best mulch possible.At Gaston Mulch and Soil, we use mulch generated from Gaston’s Tree Debris Recycling, completing a cycle of greener, sustainably-minded processes. Contact us today to learn more about how our premium mulch can help you bring out the beauty of your yard.