Using Mulch in Your Garden

Pinestraw mulch under tree

Nature has a simple and effective process for feeding and enriching the earth. When plants die or drop their leaves, the organic matter decomposes and returns nutrients to the soil.

During the winter, this layer of organic matter protects seeds from the cold, and in the spring it holds in moisture to encourage seed germination. If the layer is thick enough, it will discourage new growth and protect established plants.

Gardeners have taken this natural process and turned it into the concept of mulching where a thick layer of organic matter is applied to planting beds and gardens.

Advantages of Mulch

Mulching helps the garden by providing:

  • Weed control
  • Soil enrichment
  • Moisture retention
  • Visual appeal


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12 COMMENTS

  1. You can buy polished river stones that look more like the wet stones. For a sample, check out:

    http://rocktumblingsupplies.com/polished_river_rocks.htm

    As for the bulk river stones at your local landscaping supply yard, the only solution I know of is to coat them with a “wet look” sealer, lacquer, or shellac. One example of such a product can be found at:

    http://www.glaze-n-seal.com/sealers.html

    I would recommend reserving that method for stones that will not be in contact with dirt or ground water, due to the environmental impact. Practically speaking, the sealers work best with stones imbedded in mortar, such as on a fireplace or backsplash.

    If you find any other solution, please share. The stones just come to life when they are wet – it’s amazing.

  2. QUESTION: A SECTION OF MY FRONT YARD HAS THE 1/2″ ROCKS
    WHERE I HAVE PLANTED VARIOUS PERINNIALS; CAN I SPREAD MULCH ON TOP OF THE ROCK AND THEN MORE 1/2″ COLORED ROCK ON TOP OF THE MULCH OR DO I NEED TO REMOVE THE ROCK FIRST IN ORDER TO SPREAD THE MULCH?

  3. My neighbour cut a tree and the lanscaping company which cut the tree was kind enough to give a half load of natural wood mulch. Is there a way to color these wood chips to Cedar red color, so that it goes well with my lanscape?

    Any input will be helpful.

  4. Hi! Most of my plants are actually in pots, whereas most of the tips I find are for full scale gardens. Should the same principles apply? I really just want to mulch so I can recycle organic material in the garden.

  5. I was talking to a landscaper, he was telling me he added something to the mulch to weigh it down. I cannot remember what it was. Any ideas?

  6. I was told from someone who does pest control that mulch and pine straw next to the house are bad because of termites. Living in Florida i want to do all I can to keep termites away. What kind of mulch or ground cover do you recommend next to the house?

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