A long time landscape artist or flower gardener can tell you the many benefits of mulching. Mulching refers to the application of any material (organic or inorganic) on the surface of the soil over plant roots. Mulches are mainly used for weed suppression, water regulation, and soil temperature moderation.
Before turf suppliers discovered the commercial value of mulches, nature had begun using organic mulches. Examples are dried shredded leaves or grass clippings around plants and flowers. They help protect them from creatures and elements that steal sunlight, nutrients, and water. If nature recommends it, why shouldn’t you?
The ideal mulch is affordable, locally available, easy to handle, free of weeds, pests and diseases and rich in organic matter. Besides these, the best mulches stay in place. Try as you might, you won’t find the mulch that has all these characteristics. This is why you need a sound plan to reap the greatest benefit of mulching.
Below are a few tips to help you use mulches in cultivating your favorite flowers.
1. Reduce, if not totally prevent, weed growth around your zinnias through mulching. Wood chips and chopped leaves are just a few good mulches you can use to control the growth of weeds competing with your zinnias. Organic mulches decompose in the summer, which provide much nutrients and organic matter to the soil. Putting around 2-3 inches of mulch will help retain the moisture in the zinnias’ roots and keep pest problems at bay.
2. Keep the soil and root of the flower moist by choosing the right mulch. Help your camellias bloom and stay healthy with 3-4 inches of mulch for proper soil moisture and temperature. Use organic mulches such as straw, wood chips, pine needles, or fallen leaves. Caring for these beauties has never been easier with deep watering and right mulching.
3. Mulching roses’ beds helps them get enough sunlight, water and nutrients they need to blossom. Use organic mulches such as composted materials, shredded leaves, pines, cedars, etc. These prevent weeds from competing with your roses plus they look more attractive than plain dirt.
4. A couple of inches of organic mulch can keep the soil around your Easter lilies cool. As most flower gardeners would tell you, they like their heads facing the sun while hiding their roots from its heat. They can be sensitive to the winter wind and sun so be sure to apply a generous amount of dried leaves, straw, and pine needles to protect them. When spring comes, don’t forget to remove the mulch.
5. Mulches, when adequately applied, can keep the ground insulated during winter helping lovely flowers such as chrysanthemums make it through the cold season. Put a heavy layer of loose, organic mulches (e.g. straw and evergreen boughs) to increase your chrysanthemum’s chances of survival during the winter.
As you try more mulching products, you’ll be able to learn more about the pros and cons of various types of mulching materials. Get your hands on plenty of mulch options available in your area and share with us your success at growing lovely flower beds.