Discovering new ways to reduce water consumption in summer is critical to being a part of the water usage solution. The city of Abbotsford states, “Adding mulch to your garden is likely the single most effective way to reduce a garden’s water needs and reduce weeds!”
This statement basically says, “Using mulch will be good for the garden and less work for you”. Isn’t that the goal for all of us with a green thumb?
USE MULCH BECAUSE OUR WATER MATTERS
Laying down mulch on top of soil may be the best solution to creating a weed free garden bed. A good coating of mulch will inhibit the germination and growth of weeds in your soil.
Adding and maintaining mulch to your garden will greatly reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation.
Mulch also helps regulate the temperature of the soil so plants or trees don’t get stressed from low to high summer temperature fluctuations.
Mulch can increase biodiversity in your yard by giving a variety of insects and other tiny creatures homes and shelter.
Mulch breaks down very slowly, improving the soil’s composition and preventing it from becoming too compact.
Mulch can also protect your plants from any damage that a stray weed whacker or lawnmower can do.
Not only are weeds ugly, they can steal both nutrients and water from the plants in your garden. Laying mulch will help the soil hold in it’s moisture and nutrients so the plants can absorb what they need and not dry out too quickly while you’re away work or during extremely hot days.
To receive the most benefits from mulch, add a layer of at least 5-7.5 cm (2-3 inches) and maintain it as long as you have plants in your garden. Trees and shrubs will benefit all year round, just as much as a vegetable garden during its season. Rake the mulch seasonally to freshen up the colour.
TYPES OF MULCH
There are many types of mulch to choose from but most of them can fall into one of two groups;
ORGANIC: Includes wood chips, leaves, compost, peat moss, grass, pine-needles and straw. This may be the superior of the two because as organic mulch decomposes, it will add beneficial organic nutrients to your plants. Make sure that the grass clippings or leaves used do not contain and pesticides or fertilizers that can contaminate the natural processes of decomposing.
INORGANIC: Includes stones or rubber chips or any similar material. These mulches will still inhibit weeds and moisture loss, but will not improve your soil condition.
Mid-spring is the best time to lay down mulch to keep plants at their healthiest from the get go. If it’s your first time adding mulch, remember to weed your bed thoroughly before you begin. If you already have a layer of mulch from the previous season, break it up by raking or remove some of it before adding a new layer. When mulching each year, if your layer gets too thick, it can create mulch that won’t decompose and will hinder root growth. It’s best to stay within the 5-7.5cm range at all times.
Also, never pile up your mulch around the trunks of trees. Excessive mulch can rot the tree’s trunk and will create a haven for insects that will damage the tree. It also encourages the tree to grow a secondary root system away from the rot. When this happens, the original, deep roots can start to wither and make your tree vulnerable in dry spells. The same holds true around plants, give your plants some breathing room, keep your mulch about 2.5-5cm away from the plant crown.
WATERING WITH MULCH
Now that you have planted and prepared your garden and added the necessary layer of mulch, watering should be very easy. At the beginning of the season, and for the first 3-4 weeks after planting, a deep watering that thoroughly soaks the garden will be needed at least once a week. If you have great soil, a nice layer of mulch and water efficient plants, your garden should thrive off natural rainfalls only, or within watering restrictions during summer months.
We hope you enjoyed the article. Feel free to drop us a line or share it with your friends. But most importantly, get outside and enjoy your yards!