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Residential Landscape Management: The Purpose of Mulch

residential landscape management the purpose of mulch

Mulch is an important factor in any residential landscape management that includes plant life. Used in garden beds around flowers, trees, and shrubs, it performs many duties. These are imperative to the beauty and health of trees and plants.

Temperature Control

Soil contains many microorganisms necessary for good soil quality. These microorganisms aid in absorption of decaying organic matter into the soil. This decomposition increases the nutrients plants need to grow and prosper. Microorganisms also help prevent infection and disease in plants by encouraging a plant’s defense system that resists pathogens. 

Left unprotected in the summer heat, these microorganisms can essentially cook and become ineffective. The soil is then less nutrient rich and cannot serve the plants as well as it should. Mulch helps keep the soil cooler during warmer days, thus reducing the chance of damage from heat.

Soil, as well as a plant’s roots, also needs protection against winter elements. When soil freezes, a plant’s roots cannot draw moisture from it. Plants need moisture to live and thrive, even when dormant in winter. Many plants lose water by evaporation through leaves and needles. Mulch protects soil and roots from freezing, which allows plants to gain life-giving moisture.

Water Retention

As mentioned above, many plants lose water through their leaves. Evaporation also occurs at ground level. The sun and the air itself can strip water from unprotected soil, leaving plant life without the water it needs in order to live. Mulch protects the soil from evaporation and helps retain moisture. Soil that is allowed to dry, unprotected, becomes compact and deprived of essential nutrients.

Weed Deterrence

Weeds are unsightly nuisances that strip flowers and other plants of water, light, and nutrients. They can stunt the growth and even kill desired plants. Like all plants, weeds need light. The application of mulch helps prevent the growth of weeds by starving seeds of the sunlight they need to grow. It also adds weight that many weeds don’t have the strength to push through. The few weeds that do muster the strength to grow are easy to pluck due to the moist and loose soil beneath.

Soil Enrichment

Organic mulch not only acts as a protector, it also serves to enrich the soil in which plants are buried. Depending on the makeup of the mulch, it decomposes quickly or slowly over time and adds organic material to the soil. This help keeps soil loose and rich by feeding earthworms that essentially work to till the soil. Organic mulch also feeds those important microorganisms, increasing fertilization.

Décor

With all of its benefits to soil and plant life, mulch serves a great purpose. However, it also simply makes a landscape look good. Mulch provides a tidy, cohesive appearance among plants and trees. It puts a final touch of beautification on a well-groomed landscape. Mulch comes in a variety of materials, organic and non-organic, in a variety of color schemes. We offer:

• Shredded hardwood

• Leaves

Plants and trees serve us well in many ways, including improving air and earth quality. They also beautify our neighborhoods as well as the entire world. However, in order to do they need care. Mulch does a lot of that work. It protects plants from extreme environmental hazards such as heat and cold. Mulch helps preserve and deliver water to plants. It also creates and enriches food. To top it all off, mulch provides an element of style to gardens. To learn more about mulch in general, or about our mulching practices as part of our customized maintenance program, please contact us.

Written by : Alan Dayton

For a Free Consultation Call 703-823-2725
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