My giant mulch pile--12 cubic yards.

Ah…the smells of spring…lilacs, mock orange and MULCH.  It’s time to get your mulch on.  I just got 12 cubic yards.  That big old pile was neatly dumped by my favorite mulch place Mulch Masters this week.  If it looks like a lot, well it is.  It will probably take me a couple of weeks to move it.  Bonus of moving mulch–I don’t have to go to the gym.  In fact, on a 3-hour moving session this week I burned 2,200 calories.  So that is a win for you in your mulch endeavors, but the real winner is your garden.

Mulch has three functional purposes and one big aesthetic one.

Functional Purposes of Mulch

1)Mulch helps keep weeds at bay.  I don’t know about you, but weeding is a never-ending task for me.  You may also want to put down some newspaper or cardboard to kill big patches of weeds, then pile on about 3 inches of mulch. Some people like to use that weed fabric, not me, because the things I want to spread don’t spread because of the weed fabric. But that is just me–the choice is yours.

2)Mulch keeps moisture in and protects from extreme temperatures.  You have to plan for the future and our HOT NC summers are inevitable.  Watering in the summer is always the battle.  A thick layer of mulch will keep that moisture in the soil longer and give you a little reprieve from daily watering.

3)Mulch decomposes over time and adds nutrients.  So unlike rock or gravel, mulch does breakdown, but that is not a bad thing.  As it breaks down it releases good stuff for your plant. Plus, it helps shore up the soil structure too.

Aesthetic Purpose of Mulch

What a dramatic difference a few inches of mulch make.  My aunt recently “got her mulch on” and said, “man, my yard looks like a million bucks.” It offers a finishing quality to your garden.  It also defines your bed lines.

Before the mulch...

After the mulch...ah...a million bucks

As for the type of mulch, well that is up to your preference and price range. I personally love the “triple shredded hardwood” mulch.  It is a finer mulch, it is dark brown and it spreads like butter. But there are lots of mulch varieties, there is red cedar, pine bark–regular and mini, there is cypress and natural cedar and some people even use pine straw (although, be careful using too much near your house, straw is very flammable). Whether to buy in bulk or bag depends on your preference and price range too.  In the spring, I like to buy a big bulk.  If I cover well, it almost lasts all year, plus I can augment as I add new plants with the bag stuff.  Blog partner Chris, likes the bag stuff because it is easy to handle….I must admit a giant pile of mulch in your driveway can be a little daunting.  The bag stuff will cost you more over time, unless you buy it on sale. Plus you have to dispose of all that plastic.

So add mulching to your spring garden activity, you won’t regret it.

Happy Gardening.