Every year, at least 117 million U.S. citizens participate in spring gardening activities of some kind. Unfortunately, many gardeners neglect to mulch their plants when preparing their soil beds. Here are just a few of the great things that a quality bark mulch can do for your garden.
Promote Vigorous Seedling Growth
As you’re no doubt aware, seedlings are incredibly vulnerable during their first few weeks of life. A solid layer of mulch will support seedlings as they put down roots and prevent them from being damaged by strong winds, hard rains and damage from wildlife.
Regulate Soil Moisture Levels
If you live in a particularly arid climate, you’ll necessarily have to spend more time watering plants to achieve optimal growth. Quite a few rigorous academic studies have proven that mulching greatly boosts crop yields by preventing plants from drying out during the day.
Maintain Adequate Soil Temperatures
For gardeners residing at higher latitudes, early frosts are an annual concern that can predictably kill off sensitive seedlings. A moderate layer of mulch will trap the heat from solar radiation and provide a degree of protection from freak cold snaps early in the season.
Control the Rapid Growth of Weeds
Aside from their ability to crowd out seedlings in short order, weeds are a pain to eliminate later on during the summer months. Laying down a mat of quality bark mulch around the plants you’d like to thrive will keep weeds at bay.
Attract a Beneficial Mix of Critters
Different types of mulch can be used on different plants to deter plant-specific predators. For instance, cedar mulch is highly effective at repelling carpet beetles. Mulch can also encourage the proliferation of worms that aerate the underlying soil and increase plant yields.
Reduce the Effects of Soil Erosion
Plenty of rain and wind will quickly strip precious soil away from the bases of plants in any garden. A nice mix of heavier mulch will ensure that rich compost won’t fly away when big storms roll in during April and May.
Slowly Enrich the Soil with Nutrients
If you pick your mulch carefully, it can actually make your soil more productive through the years. The wood chips and organic matter in mulch break down over time and release nutrients into the soil in a gradual fashion that won’t harm plants.
Not All Mulches Are Created Equal
When all is said and done, picking the right mulch for your garden will make a huge difference in the results that you’ll see. If you don’t know where to start, give us a call with all your mulch questions.