1. The main reasons to use mulch is to?
2. Mulches help keep soil cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter?
3. Organic mulches can improve the soil structure?
Decaying mulch adds nutrients to the soil.
Decaying mulch adds nutrients to the soil.
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A Houston woman had her newly laid down mulch catch fire, was it spontaneous combustion or something else. Read the story for yourself – Mulch Fire
The soil in our gardens is warming up and if you have not yet removed the winter mulch and leaves tangled in your bushes now is the time to do it. With a projected sunny weekend it is the perfect time to get all the outside odd jobs taken care of. Have you cleaned out all the debris from your gutter and down spouts yet? What about taking down the last remnants of holiday decorations still dangling on shrubs and in window boxes?
Does garden reduce anxiety? Well I’m sure all those of you who are into gardening already know that the answer is a resounding yes. Spending time in planting, weeding, tilling and trimming will help transform your life into a much more calm outlook. Leigh Barnes writes in The Health Benefits of Gardening
“The very act of walking around in nature or digging in the dirt (which should always be called soil) will boost serotonin levels and make us smarter. How great is that?” Check it out…
Finally today, I came across an article and interview in the L.A. Times that you might find interesting and inspiring. Stephen Orr, Martha Stewart’s garden guru, looks for beauties with brains in ‘Tomorrow’s Garden
Creating a walkway to the backyard, the front door or even just to the garage is a great opportunity to put an exclamation point to your beautiful landscaped yard and highlight your home at the same time. Using pre-cut pavers offers you the most choice in color and material as well as shape and cost. Pavers come in concrete, brick and stone and in more colors and styles then you will believe, so plan on spending a good deal of time matching the perfect material to your landscaping.
Adding definition to your yard will help the flower gardens ans shrubs pop, and set your yard into many different and interesting areas for people to view and spend time in. I’ve seen some yards where the owner has cut pavers into small sizes and edged their entire yard with a minimal boarder, it really shines.
It’s a good idea to choose the color, shape and material from actual samples to ensure you know what the finished project will really look like. We have an outdoor showcase garden at our Goffstown office that you can wander around in which will help you see examples already installed, stop on over and check it out.
Mulch As Frame
If you are familiar with the colors of the flowers in your yard you might think about framing them in a colorful mulch that will make them pop even more. You might be surprised at how much brighter the blossoms appear when surrounded with a contrasting shade of mulch.
The Ruth Bancroft Gardens
Reading the Mercury News I came across a nice story about how Ruth Bancroft created her gardens in California, it also has a nice slideshow accompanying it. Check it out, Ruth Bancroft Garden getting a face-lift
Mulch has that unique ability to stabilize not only the visual aspects of your landscaped area but it also stabilizes and nurtures the soil that it covers as it discomposes. It’s easy to forget the benifits you and your soil derive when you practice a well thought out mulching plan for your yard.
We all see the beauty of surrounding trees, shrubs, flower beds, walkways, driveways, vegetable patches, fountains, statues and buildings with generous layers of mulch. The thought and work we put in during the spring weekends leading to summer will open up our landscaped yard to neighborhood praise and smiles from people passing by.
Underneath the mulch the environmental benefits are taking place. Those layers of mulch are helping to control soil erosion and retain moisture, Mulch also helps the soil breathe by slowing the rate of compaction and helping to retain the soil itself. Weeds under mulch will grow at a significantly reduced rate and mulch provides rich nutrients for the soil all the while helping to create a more stable home for the worms, insects and microbes so important to a healthy soil and environment.
Walkways and Driveways
Spring brings out all those nasty cracks and heaves in our driveways and walkways we had forgotten about all winter. It may be a good time to start thinking of using Permeable Pavers to do both the driveway and the walkways. Permeable Pavers allow for the rain and moisture to easily travel into the ground and not build up pockets underneath or on top of the surfaces.
Ann Lovejoy writes a nice piece about pavers and planting entitled Sustainable garden path and driveway paving that you might finding both helpful and enjoyable as you make your spring construction decisions. And Don’t forget to drop over to our office to check out our extensive line of pavers for all your landscaping needs.
With spring just around the corner (in spite of yesterday’s little snow storm) it is a great time to refresh your best mulch practices before you grab a rake and head out to care for your gardens and landscaped areas.
I’m have no idea where the term Mulch Volcano came from but it does a good job of describing the scenario that can develop quickly if you apply mulch too thickly around the trunks of trees and shrubs. Landscapers, arborists and gardeners have seen over the last few years a huge increase in the number of people who pile mulch too deeply and snugly around trees and shrubs and they warn homeowners that this practice can lead to the rot and disease of the trees if left untended. It does not kill the trees immediately but over a few years it may cause irreparable damage.
A Mulch volcano traps moisture around the trees bark increasing the likelihood of rot, the temperature can rise to 140 degrees on hot days and mold starts to develop. What may look good to the homeowner becomes a dark moist area endangering the trees and shrubs.
As you all know we are big proponents of mulching and done correctly it lowers maintenance costs, it also reduces the chance of damage from lawn and weed trimmers straying too close to trees and shrubs. Mulch gives gardens and landscaped areas an even and well-cared for look.
Stop by our office with your mulch questions and to look around at our extensive selection of mulches. And for a great little article about Yoshino cherry trees and the coming of spring check out the piece from the Charlotte Observer.
Mulch is without a doubt beneficial to your landscaping ecosystem, it retains ground moisture and adds much needed nutrients to the soil, but it can also lead to some unintended things like root rot if you are not careful when you spread the mulch around. I came across a quick article For The Tree’s Sake: Much Ado About Mulching that encapsulates the subject really well, check it out when you get a second.
News from Minnesota, a group of students from the University of Minnesota get on buses and travel to 5 different cities, sounds like they are following a concert tour right? We all could be excused if we thought it was a caravan during spring break but what they are really doing is community service and as the article Students on Spring Break Trade Surf for Turf lets us know is that this spring they helped rehab the nature areas of a summer camp. Now this is something every community should explore, using volunteer students to help maintain parks, public gardens and nature areas especially during these tight budget times.
I’ve heard of people who spend all their spare time making homemade beer or restoring furniture but Mulching? An article on the Southeast Missourian entitled The Call of Mulch caught my eye and I dropped everything to explore it. The author Brad Hollerbach shares with us his need to mulch and mulch some more, it’s an enjoyable article that will make you smile and a few of you I’m sure share his need to mulch.
If you have spent anytime on our website either looking for products or reading the blog you know I write quite a lot about mulch and I do this because I love mulch. Mulch is not just a great way to add beauty and health to any landscaping project it also is a great way to recycle those things left over after a storm or clenaing up after a long winter.
Recently the good people in Australia had a huge cyclone name Yasi hit their beautiful continent. The Cyclone create much damage and our thoughts go out to all those whose lives where disrupted by this huge storm. Yesterday I came across an article about what was being done with all the debris the storm caused. It seems “Cassowary Coast Regional Council has collected 160,000 cubic meters of green waste.” this is a huge amount of waste being turned into mulch. Read more here Yasi and Mulch
Yes indeed I am starting the spring countdown on this the last day of January 2011. I’m sure there are those who think I am jumping the season a bit but when I looked out the window this morning I swear I could see spring lurking outside just waiting for the right time to emerge. Oh and I saw this picture on Flicker shortly after I got up… the picture is entitle “a fresh batch of mulch“… check it out and join me in this early welcome to spring and all things green.
How To Begin
Keep in mind that composting materials should be organic enough to break down with gentle persuasion and a turn of the spade. You’ll want a good mix of gritty type organic materials like coffee grinds that can blend easily with several kinds of vegetable peels and skins. Avoid getting seeds from vegetables or fruits into the composting mix. These will definitely sprout in the compost pile under the right blend of conditions. Save the ash from the fireplace or outdoor barbecue so long as no other inorganic chemicals have been used such as those that start a fire. Ash has a good silica value as well as nitrogen. Instead of trashing paper from the home paper shredder, add it to the compost mix. Just be sure to include only shredded print that has no color ink dyes or the purity of the composting organic matter will be compromised.
The Turn Of The Spade
If there is one thing a compost pile loves, it’s aeration. This just means using a spade or tined garden fork to turn the pile once every three or four weeks depending on temperatures. A compost pile needs a cover to prevent too much moisture from disintegrating the mix. The simplest way to build a compost enclosure is to purchase 4 pre-formed, unfinished wooden posts about 4 feet in height and several yards of mesh screening. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Place the posts deep into the ground at least 6 inches. If stormy washouts are a regular problem, consider using quick dry cement at the base of the posts to hold them firmly into the ground.
The cover can be a tarp or something more elaborate. Just be sure it will be a cover that allows for easy access to your home composting pile. One tip is to save that worn clear vinyl shower curtain and cut it to fit the enclosure. Clean vinyl encourages penetration of the sun rays as well as helping to retain moisture.
Let Nature Take Its Course And Tend Your Home Composting Pile
All the fun of the compost pile is watching nature do the work for you. A good blend of sun, air and moisture will always be the most reliable agents that will create the desired result. Don’t forget to add your autumn leaves, twigs and grass clippings to your composting pile. Turn, turn, turn compost after any new additions so that air circulates plentifully throughout the compost pile. Don’t worry if winter is a tad harsh. The compost pile needs the extremes of temperatures if it is going to chemically react in balance with the elements of nature.
The Indestructible Compost Pile
So long as the compost enclosure is sturdily constructed, the forces of nature will keep the contents intact. It takes patience to see the final result of your composting work. There’s no magic wand that will degrade the composting mix in less than the time it takes to blink. Composting is, after all, an organic chemical science. Certain ingredients may hasten the process. This faster breakdown indicates a good balance between gritty types of composting ingredients and those that can degrade quickly. Using leaves and grass clipping as the neutralizing agent for odors is a good idea. By itself, grass clippings may be pretty odorous. In a compost mix, grass clippings add a certain level of chlorophyll. The same is true of ash as a form of sodium carbonate.