When Spring arrives, and the smell of fresh mulch is in the air, you might be wondering, what is the purpose of mulch anyway? If you’re looking to spruce up your landscape, a fresh layer of mulch will most certainly accomplish that goal. But, mulch serves many purposes beyond looking attractive.
What Is the Purpose of Mulch in Omaha?
Mulch is more than a decorative cover for your garden beds. Whether you use natural materials, like bark and pine straw, or plain landscaping fabric or plastic, mulch is working to improve the quality of the soil and protect your plants and plant roots. Mulch benefits both ornamental and edible garden plants. It also protects bare soil from weed seeds so it remains attractive.
- Enhances the visual appeal of the landscape
- Adds nutrients and improves the fertility as well as the health of the soil
- Keeps mowers and weed eaters away from the trees
- Helps with moisture retention
- Reduces weed growth
Picking Mulch for Your Garden
There are two basic types of mulch: organic and inorganic. Organic mulches include formerly living material such as chopped leaves, straw, grass clippings, compost, wood chips, shredded bark, sawdust, pine needles, and even paper. Inorganic mulches include black plastic and geotextiles (landscape fabrics).
While both types of mulch work to prevent weeds and suppress weeds, organic mulches also improve the soil as they decompose. Inorganic mulches don’t break down and enrich the soil, but under certain circumstances, they’re the mulch of choice. For example, black plastic warms the soil and radiates heat during the night, keeping heat-loving vegetables such as eggplant and cherry tomatoes cozy and vigorous.
Organic mulch is made up of decayed vegetables, wood, grass cuttings, and compost. All of these are full of nourishment which enhances the fertility of the soil in springtime after the cold winter months. Vegetables, trees, and flowers benefit the most from organic mulch. With the decomposition of organic mulch, the soil is enriched with nutrients which enables faster growth.
Inorganic mulch is a mixture of recycled materials such as rubber, fabrics, and plastic. Pebbles, rocks, and seashells could also be utilized as inorganic mulch in your yard. Although inorganic mulch contains no nutrients, it can be repeatedly reused as it does not decompose.
Mulch Installation Information
Despite what you see around town, be careful not to bury the trunk or any exposed root flares when spreading mulch around trees. Mulch retains moisture and will invite fungus to the base of the tree, which will result in dying, rotting, or falling over. It’s never a good idea to install dyed mulch before or during a rain event. The color will wash or bleed off.
The best practice is to make sure the mulch has a few days to dry in the hot sun after installation. This should minimize the washing and bleeding of the dye or colorant. It is a good idea to lay down a tarp where your mulch will be delivered, especially if you have it dumped on a concrete surface.
Dyed mulch will stain any surface that it comes in contact with. A good rain will usually wash away most of the stain, but on a new concrete surface, it won’t be as easy.
Learn more: When is the Best Time To Buy Mulch in Omaha?
Omaha Tree Services
At Omaha Tree, we recycle all of our wood waste material from the trees we trim and remove in the greater Omaha metro area. The wood waste material is brought back to our 8-acre site at 3606 McKinley Street, where it is processed into a beautiful & consistent mulch product that is local, fresh, and clean. Contact us today.