May is "Mulch Month!"
Well, not officially … but May is a great time to add mulch to your planting beds.
This year, it might be especially important. Soil moisture is at a low ebb. The dry spring has slowed the re-emergence of many plants in Brookfield, Elm Grove and New Berlin, WI.
Besides giving planting beds a fresh look, mulch has the added benefit of helping retain ground moisture. Adding mulch now will make the most of any rains. Your planting beds will be ready for the heat of summer, which isn’t far off.
Mulch has additional benefits in landscaping. One is retarding weed growth ... which means less work later!
Applying mulch is labor-intensive, to be sure - yet it’s an easy do-it-yourself project with instant results. An average mulch depth of 3 inches is ideal.
Where should you get mulch? The answer depends on how much you want to pay (if any), and your expected results.
The mulch at your municipal recycling center is usually free – and with good reason. It’s made from, essentially, other people’s garbage. Those piles of dead and dying brush at the center? Those are the raw materials. This mulch can be full of weeds, seeds and diseases … but then again, it’s free.
Another drawback of this mulch is that, being comprised largely of soft woods, it deteriorates quickly. You might have to replenish much of it next spring.
Other mulches are better in the short and long run … but you’ll have to open the wallet. We’ll examine the different types next week. Have a relaxing – and reflective – Memorial Day weekend!
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