Here at Schultz’s Landscaping, LLC you will often hear us discuss edging and mulching with our clients. In modern landscaping, mulch is a protective layer of organic material that is placed over or around plants. Mulch can be employed for many reasons, but the most common benefits it provides include the prevention of moisture loss, suppression of weed growth, and protection against exposure. There are also several different varieties of mulch commercially available, based on the specific local climate in which is to be used as well as the aesthetic tastes of the designer planning the landscape. Common materials used for mulch include wood chips, straw, hay, or composted grass clippings. Here in Central PA, “tanbark” is often used as a mulch in landscaped beds. Tanbark is the shredded bark of trees with some other natural wood products mixed in. Some tanbark is dyed with natural coloring (food color based) to hold its color throughout the season. Brown and Black are the most popular dyed tanbark choices. Decorative stone is also a popular mulch in flower beds. We recommend using a heavy duty weed fabric under decorative stone to help retard weed growth. Weed fabric is different than plastic sheeting as it is porous and allows water and nutrients to penetrate into the root zone of plant material. Wood carpet is a mulch that is often used on playgrounds because it is soft and won’t stain children’s clothing.
When mulching, more is not necessarily better. Thick layers of mulch can actually reduce water absorption by the soil, as moderate rainfall will not penetrate the mulch. We at Schultz’s Landscaping recommend that a 1” to 2” layer of mulch be applied near the beginning of the growing season in order to help retain heat in the soil overnight. Mulch can also be applied in the fall before the first freeze to help with moisture retention and to provide insulation. Blustery winter winds frequently expose the crowns of plants’ roots and drying the entire plant. Mulch helps to prevent this from occurring, though for more delicate plants the application of an anti-desiccant or a protective burlap wrap may be necessary.
Mulch is also often used with the practice of edging, which involves the management of transition spaces between hardscapes (driveways, paths, and patios) with plant-based softscapes. Edging refers to the act of trimming the plant growth along the hardscape in order to create a clean edge. This helps create a perception of orderliness and regimentation. Here at Schultz’s Landscaping LLC we are proud to offer all of these services and look forward to working with you in the years to come!