Mulching is spreading organic, or inorganic, material over exposed soil to
protect soil and plants from the elements. In the warmer months mulch keeps
the soil cool so less water is lost to evaporation, in the cooler months it
insulates the ground. Additionally, mulch may also suppress weeds and
prevent soil compaction and erosion. If it’s done properly, it can add a
finished look to the garden. There are many benefits to mulching, but it
needs to be done right.
Both organic and inorganic mulch are available for your garden. Inorganic
mulch is not allowed under the SOUL organic standard. Organic mulch,
however, will break down, adding organic matter to the soil.
- Start by clearing old mulch and debris like grass and twigs away from the area;
- Around trees apply 3 to 4 inches of mulch, keeping it away from the trunk;
- Around plants apply 1 to 3 inches of mulch;
- Ensure mulch is flat and flush around the base of plants;
- Too much mulch will attract rodents and cause root rot. Opt for total cover, but
not more than a few inches thick.
Types of Mulch
- Chopped leaves
- Wood chips
- Hay or straw
Inorganic Mulch (not recommended under the SOUL Standards)
- Rubber wood chips
- Landscape fabric