Most gardeners, beginners included, understand the importance of proper garden care. We know that our plants need proper watering, our garden beds need proper weeding and the lawn needs proper mowing. However, something that often gets overlooked is mulching. Not everyone quite understands the benefits of mulch. Mulching isn't just for looks-although it doesn't hurt your curb appeal-it's actually a pretty useful garden technique that provides many benefits to our plants.
All of the benefits of mulch make a huge difference in your garden. Here in Bismarck, our summers can get pretty hot and dry. While we can take cover inside our air-conditioned homes or head to the pool for a swim, our plants are left to bake in the sun all day long. These conditions can be taxing on their roots, which need plenty of water to sustain the plant.
This is where mulch becomes a life-saver-literally. Mulch is sprinkled over the surface of the ground, in your flower beds, and around your perennials, trees and shrubs to provide an added layer of protection from the sun. Mulch masks the soil around the precious root zones of your favorite plants, blocking the sun from evaporating moisture as quickly as you're adding it. Since the soil is kept cool, it's able to conserve more water and nutrients for your plants, and you won't have to drive up the water bill trying to keep your garden green all summer.
Plus, mulch is also great for suppressing pesky, sun-loving weeds. That means no more stiff backs or sore knees from constant weeding!
While mulch is available in a variety of materials and colors, some gardeners opt for decorative stones to shade the soil instead. While stones might be aesthetically appealing to you, they don't provide your plants with quite as many benefits as natural mulch. The majority of mulches available are made from natural, organic materials. Not only do these materials function as a barrier between the soil and sun, but they also break down to deliver tons of healthy nutrients and bacteria to the soil. Compared to stones, organic mulch is the less expensive option and offers way more benefits.
We might encourage using mulch over stone, but there are still plenty of different kinds of mulch to choose from to fit your design and color schemes. Some are organic, while others are synthetic, so make sure you decide on what benefits and features you're looking for first. Once you've decided, take a look at these possible options: