So summer is on its way and that can only mean one thing: time to prepare your garden so you have the most beautiful space possible to enjoy the warm weather in. One of the most important jobs will be the laying of mulch; mulch can help prevent weeds, improve soil nutrients, retain soil moisture, keep the soil temperature constant, and reduce pest damage. With all these advantages, mulching is a great way to ensure a healthy, vibrant garden. However, there are a few steps to take before you put down mulch on your flower bed. This article will provide a guild for how to prepare for mulch.
Here are 8 steps to get your flower beds ready:
1. First thing you need to decide is the type of mulch you want to use. Many people choose hardwood mulches, which blend in well with other materials, however, they do need to be replaced quite often. There are also bark mulches which have many of the same qualities as hardwood mulches, but they decompose less quickly and therefore, do not need to be replaced as often.
2. Once you have chosen the type of mulch, you then need to make sure you work out how much you need; usually you will want about a 3-inch layer over your flower beds. There are online mulch calculators you can use to find out how much you will need.
3. The first job to do after the winter is clear the flower beds of any leaf and plant debris from the previous year. Be sure to thoroughly clear your beds.
4. Make sure you rake the soil so that it is smooth; the mulch will look lumpy if you do not do this. You also want to edge the beds to make sure the mulch does not escape the beds and spread onto your lawn. This will make sure your beds have a professional, clean look when you have finished mulching.
5. Before laying mulch you do want to make sure that your plants have grown about 4 to 6 inches; if you do not do this then you may stifle the growth of the plant.
6. You also need to trim and cut back any plants or bushes that need it, this will avoid too much leaf debris from interfering with your mulch.
7. Make sure you weed the bed thoroughly, pulling to weeds out by the roots, otherwise you will find a lot of weed growth especially with the extra nutrients from the mulch. Once you have done this the mulch will prevent further weed growth as there will be no sunlight getting to the soil. You may also want to lay down landscape fabric to prevent the weeds coming back; you can then mulch over the top of this. If you are going to put landscape fabric down, make sure you cut holes where the plants are coming through. You can also spray a weed control agent on the bed before putting down mulch; it is a good idea to do this about 2-3 weeks before you mulch to allow it to kill off the weeds first.
8. Finally give the flower bed a good water before spreading the mulch; this will ensure a good damp soil for your plants and the mulch will help keep the moisture in your soil, which means less watering for you as the hot weather arrives.
So now you are ready to lay your mulch on your beds. All these steps will ensure a beautiful, weed-free and healthy flower bed for you to enjoy throughout the summer.