As the temperatures start to warm, you might be tempted to mulch your garden beds. While there is value in spring mulching, it’s important to time it properly. Mulching too early might be a disservice to the plants, but mulching too late might encourage weed growth. Check out this guide to plan when to start mulching in spring.
Avoid Mulching in the Early Spring
It’s best to avoid mulching in the early weeks of spring because the ground is still cold. Adding a layer of mulch will trap in the cold, making it harder for the soil to warm up. If you give the soil a little bit of time to soak up the sun rays, you can then add mulch to insulate the roots below.
Also keep in mind that if you’re adding new plants to your landscaping, their roots need time to develop. They can do that through a thin layer of mulch, but a thick layer may be impossible for them to penetrate through. Allow the seedlings to establish their footing before installing the mulch bed.
Cultivate the Soil before Mulching
This is a great time to turn the soil in your garden beds. The soil is easy to access, and you can loosen the dirt for better water and nutrient penetration.
At Berns Landscaping, we focus on fortifying plants to fend for themselves. Part of this process involves creating a rich root structure that can soak up valuable nutrients. Soil cultivation sets the foundation for better landscaping.
Add a 4-Inch Mulch Layer in Mid-Spring
In the mid- to late-spring, you’re ready to add your new mulch. We recommend about a 4″ mulch bed because this thickness suffocates weeds. You do not need landscaping fabric or plastic under your mulch to keep weeds away. The thickness of your mulch will do that for you.
Top-off the Mulch throughout the Growing Season
Mulch breaks down over time. That’s one of its big benefits – it feeds the soil. Because of the breakdown though, your mulch bed is going to lose thickness as the year progresses.
Berns Landscaping does frequent mulch top-offs throughout the growing season. This helps with weed control, moisture retention, temperature regulations, and much more. The amount of mulch added will depend on the size of the bed, the type of mulch used and the amount of breakdown it has incurred.
Add a Final Layer of Mulch Right after the First Frost
When should you stop mulching your garden beds? Ideally in late fall or early winter. If you can do the last mulch top-off right after the first hard freeze of the year, you’ll insulate the soil temp to be around freezing. This will keep the temps more stable through the winter and preserve your plants in the dormant season.
If you apply the mulch too early, you may experience frost heaving. This happens when the soil goes through rapid freezing and thawing. Cold air sinks, freezes in the soil and turns into ice. This leads to cracks in the soil above and compacted soil below.
On the flip side, if you mulch too late, your plant roots may be exposed to extreme temperatures. Landscaping is all about balance, and sometimes it takes years of practice to perfect.
Let Us Handle the Mulching for You!
If all of this sounds a little overwhelming, it’s because it is. Landscaping is a practice that takes time to truly master, not to mention the backbreaking labor that goes into it. You could eliminate all of that hassle by working with a professional landscaping crew.
At Berns Landscaping, we’ve perfected the art of mulching. In fact, we have a specialized team dedicated to garden bed care. Give us a call at (586) 756-1145 to set up a personalized landscaping care plan.