When you own a landscaping and gardening business in Ottawa, it is inevitable that friends and clients will ask what can I do to make my garden and flower beds easier to maintain?
I truly believe that the single most important thing, other than appropriate plant selection and proper planting procedure, is adding mulch to your planted areas will get you the most bang for your buck.
What Kind of mulch?
Before I address the benefits of mulch let me explain what kind of mulch I prefer. For most ornamental garden and flower bed applications we install shredded cedar mulch. I prefer shredded over bark or nugget type mulch for a few reasons. First is that the shredded variety forms a semi permeable barrier which reduces weed growth yet allows rain water to gently cascade into the root zones of your plants. The second reason I prefer shredded over more chunky types of mulch is that during heavy rain storms the shredded mulch tends to stay on the plant areas as opposed to nugget types which can slide off the garden area. The third reason we use shredded over nugget type is that shredded mulch will disintegrate over time adding nutrients into your soil benefiting the plants . The nugget variety will take much longer to incorporate itself into the soil thus adding fewer nutrients.
Now let me explain what plant source of mulch I prefer and why.
To be honest we use a couple of high quality mulch types and the most widely used is the shredded cedar and shredded pine. In my experience I have found the shredded cedar mulch to be the best choice. Cedar is a natural anti fungal and adding this type of mulch can mitigate the risk of fungal issues around susceptible plants such as roses. Cedar mulch also has the benefit of slowly and gently amending the soil which will benefit pretty much any tree, shrub or flower. I would say that adding shredded cedar mulch is essential when planting a new cedar hedge comprised of thuja occidentalis. It will keep the roots nicely cooler as it forms an effective barrier against excessive summer heat. It retains moisture lessening the watering requirements of any plant and will reduce the number of weeds present thus requiring fewer hours to maintain.
How much mulch do I need?
The answer is usually a depth of around 3 inches. Having that amount of mulch will form an effective weed barrier while allowing water to penetrate fairly easily. Putting less will allow more weeds to come through. Adding too much is not good either as it will make watering more difficult.
How often will I need to add mulch to my garden area?
When you have used a quality shredded cedar mulch you may need to add a bit every year or two to keep a good depth and also to keep the flower bed looking well maintained.
Is colored mulch safe?
When purchased through a local supplier or company such as Primo Landscaping it will be. Current generation suppliers use a dye that really does not come off even over a couple of years. If you wish to truly stay natural you can always opt for a natural mulch without dye. And a rush black or cocoa colour can really create a vibrant contrast against certain plants and coordinate nicely with exterior colours of your home.
Please contact Primo Landscaping, your first choice for landscape maintenance and gardening in Ottawa should you have any questions or require help with an exterior project.