Mulch reduces weeds, keeps soil evenly moist and regulates soil temperature. Over time, it naturally decays and becomes part of the soil, adding nutrients and encouraging earthworms and other good stuff to happen underground.
For mulch to be most effective, it needs to be replaced at least once a year. Shredded leaves and compost break down faster and may need replacement twice a year. Wood mulches pack down and don’t decay, especially in hot and dry climates, and need to be refreshed.
Mulch Replacement Tips:
- Remove old mulch. Compost or recycle.
- Add 2″-3” of fresh mulch such as aged compost, shredded leaves, small wood chips or fine pine needles.
- Mulch trees and shrubs to the drip line, as far as the branches reach.
- Keep mulch 2″-3″ away from the trunks of trees and shrubs. Do not mound like a volcano. It can kill plants.
- If wood mulch appears OK, fluff it and top off with 1” of fresh mulch of the same type.
- Don’t mix wood mulch into the soil. It may rob nitrogen from plants. Instead, lay it on top and allow it to naturally decay.
- Play it safe and don’t use mulch from freshly harvested trees or endangered ones.
- Don’t use rubber mulch in the garden. Rubber mulch should only be used in places like school playgrounds.