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Mulch provides many advantages and can be composed of different materials. Common materials for mulch are woods chips, pine needles, pebbles, pulverized rubber, lava rocks, and fabric liners. Optimum mulch depth is about two inches. Never add more than four inches of mulch. Adding too much will promote root rot, disease, insect problems, and affect the pH of the soil.

Do research to ensure the right mulch is used for the landscaping, region, and plants. Using the right mulch and installation will help promote healthy plant growth, among these other advantages:

  • Weed prevention - Preventing weeds from growing saves a lot of time.
  • Moisture control - Mulch holds in moisture and prevents the ground from drying up.
  • Temperature moderation - An extra layer of insulation on top of the soil moderates temperature fluctuations.
  • Nutrition - Organic mulches decompose and add extra nutrition to the top of the soil.

Mulch Maintenance Checklist


Wind, rain, and freezing water shifts and erodes the mulch. Check the mulch in all beds and around trees for the following:

  • -Inspect for “bald” spots where mulch has been washed away.
  • -There should be 2-3 inches of separation around the base of all trees.
  • -Organic mulches should not be more than 3 inches deep.
  • -There should be at least 4 inches of separation between the mulch and the top of a home’s foundation.

Renew Mulch

Spring is the best time to apply new mulch. At this point plants are starting to grow but weeds have not germinated yet. Inorganic mulches should only need to be maintained once a year. Organic mulches might require multiple inspections and reapplications a year. Apply the new mulch on the thinner areas. Use a bow rake to spread it out. Mix up the older much with the rake to give it a fresher look.

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