Fac­tors to con­sider when choos­ing, ap­ply­ing mulch

Times Chronicle & Public Spirit - - COMFORTS OF HOME - Ar­ti­cle cour­tesy of MetroCreative

Home­own­ers may as­so­ciate mulch with spring­time lawn and gar­den care, but mulching in fall can ben­e­fit a lawn as well. Ac­cord­ing to the Mor­ton Ar­bore­tum in Illi­nois, mulch pro­tects roots against ex­treme tem­per­a­tures and not just those as­so­ci­ated with sum­mer heat waves.

Mulch is of­ten con­nected with its abil­ity to help soil re­tain mois­ture dur­ing es­pe­cially warm times of the year, when mulch pro­motes strong roots that can help lawns and plants sur­vive pe­ri­ods of ex­treme heat. But when ap­plied in the fall, mulch also in­hibits freez­ing and thaw­ing in win­ter, re­duc­ing the like­li­hood that plants will be in­jured.

While ap­ply­ing mulch in fall can be ben­e­fi­cial to lawns, home­own­ers should first con­sider a few fac­tors.

• Tim­ing: The Mor­ton Ar­bore­tum notes that mulch be­ing ap­plied as win­ter pro­tec­tion should not be ap­plied too early in the fall, as do­ing so may de­lay the soil freez­ing process. Home­own­ers should wait un­til af­ter a hard frost in the fall to ap­ply win­ter mulch. In many places, hard frost will not ap­pear un­til late fall.

• Tex­ture: The Mor­ton Ar­bore­tum rec­om­mends medi­um­tex­tured mulch. Fine par­ti­cles may pack down and re­tain mois­ture that will evap­o­rate be­fore it reaches the plant roots. Ma­te­ri­als that are too coarse may be in­ca­pable of hold­ing suf­fi­cient amounts of wa­ter to ben­e­fit the soil.

• Nu­tri­ents: Hu­mus is an or­ganic com­po­nent of soil that forms when leaves and other plant ma­te­ri­als de­com­pose. Or­ganic mulches pro­vide hu­mus and de­com­pose over time, adding nu­tri­ents into the soil. The Mor­ton Ar­bore­tum rec­om­mends that home­own­ers use or­ganic mulch that was com­posted or treated prior to ap­pli­ca­tion so any weeds, in­sects or micro­organ­isms are killed.

• Ap­pli­ca­tion: Cor­rect ap­pli­ca­tion of the mulch is es­sen­tial. Ap­ply­ing too much mulch can ad­versely af­fect lawns, plants and soil. In ad­di­tion, ex­ces­sive ap­pli­ca­tion can cause de­cay and make lawns and plants more vul­ner­a­ble to dis­ease. Home­own­ers un­cer­tain about when and how to ap­ply mulch in the fall can con­sult with a lawn care pro­fes­sional to de­vise a plan that en­sures their lawns and gar­dens hold up against win­ter weather.

Mulch may be widely as­so­ci­ated with spring lawn care, but ap­ply­ing mulch in the fall can ben­e­fit lawns and gar­dens as well.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF METROCREATIVE

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.