What Not to Do When Mulching?

What Not to Do When Mulching?

Mulching is one of the most important gardening tasks, yet also one of the most common ways to ruin your hard work. Most guides will tell you what to do; however, what about the things you shouldn’t do when mulching? Two of the biggest mistakes are mulching too often and too much. Here’s your guide to garden mulching for home and commercial landscaping projects.

Why Mulch?

Mulch can be beneficial to your garden for many reasons. Therefore, we must learn the right and wrong things to do for our garden. The positives:

  • Conserve water
  • Prevent water waste
  • Keep a moderate soil temperature during extreme temperatures
  • Reduce weed growth-weed seeds can’t get to the light to grow
  • Protect plants
  • Prevent erosion

What Not to Do When Mulching?

Mulching Too Often

Mulching the garden too often risks choking the plants at their roots or base. It strips more nutrients from the ground than it adds. Plants can show signs of overmulching (such as dying leaves or wilting ends).

Prevention is better than cure, and you should space out mulching times to at least every few weeks instead of days.

Creating ‘Dead Spots’

Mulching can create dead spots in the garden and kill grass growth where you expect to see something green. Applying it to the garden too often and in thick layers causes the problem. The top layer removes nutrients and does not reach the soil as desired.

Creating An Imbalance

Mulching can create an imbalance, depending on the type of mulch and soil type. Always test the pH balance of your soil and mixture. Ideally, you want to do this both before and after the mixture has been added.

Accidental imbalances can create more issues for your plants than you can fix. This creates more work and kills sensitive plants in your garden bed.

Accidentally Creating Something Toxic

Many gardeners create their own organic mulching mixtures. However, many inexperienced gardeners also get it wrong by adding the wrong things. Some plant types, though rare, can be poison to other plants. Organic matter doesn’t always mean it should go into a mulching mixture.

Some natural materials that people use for mulch are:

  • Grass clippings
  • Pine needles
  • Wood chips
  • Straw

The wrong organic materials in your mixture could accidentally create something toxic to your landscape or its plants.

Timing Is Important

You can apply mulch at any time, but it is recommended more in the spring. Plants that have endured a rough winter could reap the benefit of mulching to gain nutrients. Keep in mind that exposure to the wrong mixtures can be damaging.

Gardeners can usually tell what their plants need the most. You can use:

  • Weather
  • Climate
  • Environment
  • Your plants as a guide

Using Too Much Of Any Mixture

Over-mulching isn’t the only way to harm your garden or landscape. Using too much of any mulch mixture can also damage your garden. It’s not just the frequency you should be paying attention to.

Creating A Pile-up Problem

Mulch should be mixed into the soil. It should never be heaped around your plants or piled up at the base of a tree trunk or plants. Instead, spread it evenly across the area.

Mulching Attracting Pests And Other Problems

Mulch heaps can also attract pests and other problems to your garden, where it wasn’t your intention. Certain mixtures are likely to repel pests, while others can be more likely to attract them.

Certain critters, such as snakes, are attracted to prey, like mice. Piles of mulch around trees give mice and voles a perfect place to hide. Other critters such as millipedes, spiders, ants, and other insects are attracted to the heat mulch generates.

Store your mixtures where most pests cannot reach them, and use environmentally friendly methods of bug repellent where necessary to prevent pest infestations in your garden.

Omaha Tree Service

At Omaha Tree, our mission is to provide tree care services & mulch products that improve the HEALTH, BEAUTY, & SAFETY of our customers’ trees. 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 a certified arborist today.