Mulch is extremely important for a healthy flower bed. Mulch in the flower bed provides a number of benefits. One of its most important benefits is weed control. If your flower bed has mulch but also has a lot of weeds, it typically means that the depth of the mulch is not sufficient. Same concept applies to decorative stones and rocks; depth is key for keeping weeds under control. You want to have at least 4 to 5 inches of mulch in your flower beds to control weeds. And while the depth of the mulch should be 4 to 5 inches, care should be taken not to drown the stems of the plants in mulch, as this could cause the trunk to rot. Please understand that mulch will suppress weed growth but it will not completely prevent it. Think about it this way, Mother Nature is modest, and likes to be covered.
Another benefit of adding mulch to flower beds is moisture retention. Whether it is rain water or water from the irrigation system, the mulch will absorb water and keep the area moist, this should result in lower water usage for plants and a colorful garden.
Do we recommend removing existing mulch, before adding more mulch? It depends on the conditions of the mulch in your flower bed. If the mulch has developed fungus, then yes, we need to remove the existing mulch prior to adding new mulch. We would have to remove the existing mulch and replace it with a thick layer of fresh mulch. However, if the layer of mulch is less than 5 inches, and the mulch has not developed any fungus, then adding a 1 inch layer of mulch to refresh the flower bed is an acceptable practice. Certainly, adding a thin layer of mulch over the existing mulch is the most cost effective option, but not always an option.
What type of mulch is best? In our climate, pine bark mulch is the most beneficial for the plants and soil in flower beds. Pine bark is great because it will disintegrate over time, becoming organic matter to feed the soil and as a consequence of feeding the soil the plants will have nutrients accessible for its benefit. Pine bark is natural; it has no chemicals added to it. Pine bark mulch is Top Lawn Pros’ preferred choice and top recommendation when it comes to mulch. If your property has any other type of mulch and you would like to change it to Pine Bark mulch, we would need to remove the existing mulch before adding Pine Bark mulch to ensure it can provide its benefits to the flowerbed, and to make the flowerbed aesthetically pleasing.
Do we recommend adding weed barrier fabric? It depends. There is no, one size fits all, approach when it comes to flowerbeds. We would need to know the purpose of the flower bed. If you plan on adding landscape rocks or stones to the flower bed instead of mulch, then yes, adding weed barrier fabric will help reduce the amount of weeds that grow in the flower bed. If the plan is for the flower bed to contain seasonal plants, then having a weed barrier fabric can be counter productive. Also adding dyed mulch to a flower bed that is being turned over constantly is not the best idea. We would recommend pine bark mulch for this type of flower bed. If your intention is to have a standalone mulch bed with no plants, by all means, please request a weed barrier fabric. It will save you a lot of time that would otherwise be invested in pulling weeds. We mentioned above that Pine Bark mulch breaks down over time and provides nutrients for the soil. If the weed barrier fabric is in place, the pine bark will break down on top of the weed barrier fabric and will not be able to provide the necessary nutrients to the flower bed.
Is there a better time of the year to replace or replenish the mulch? You can replace or replenish mulch any time throughout the year. However, Top Lawn Pros recommends mulch to be replaced or replenished during the winter months. These are the coldest and most times, the driest months which means weeds grow at a slower rate or not at all. Taking advantage of the slow growth of weeds, and adding a fresh layer will provide a tremendous advantage in reducing weed growth the following Spring. Our recommendation is to add a 1 inch layer of mulch to the flowerbeds at least once per year.
The most popular reason for adding mulch to a flower bed is to enhance the visual appearance of the landscaping. Adding a layer of mulch gives the landscaping a fresh look. It can also make the property look well kept. Local mulch suppliers have two different types of mulch, pine bark mulch and cypress mulch. Pine Bark comes in two different colors: its natural brown color, and some suppliers add dye to it to make it look a deep red. Cypress mulch can be found in a few different colors: red, black, dark brown and light brown. The color of the mulch is a personal preference and no color is better than the other.
Top Lawn Pros recommends the following prior to mulching. First step is to trim any plants and trees, and clean up the clippings prior to mulching. Next, we recommend pulling all the weeds and grass growing in the flowerbeds. Once the beds are all clean, we recommend defining or redefining the edge on the bed to give a clear delineation between the lawn and the flowerbed. Once all the steps above have been completed, you can now add mulch to the flowerbeds. If you are using mulch bags, the mulch bags should be opened on top of the bed and not on top of the lawn; this will reduce clean up time later. If using a wheelbarrow to transport the mulch, again handle the mulch on top of the flowerbed to reduce clean up time later.