We get a lot of calls this time of year about woodpecker damage to trees, and possible insect infestation related to the presence of the woodpeckers. There are two common misconceptions here that I would like to clear up. The first is that the culprit is not a true woodpecker, but a sapsucker that eats […]
The City of Prescott has compiled a list of appropriate plants to choose from when creating a drought tolerant landscape. You can download the PDF here: Drought Tolerant Plant List For Prescott, AZ
With the recent downturn in the economy many unemployed people have had to search out other avenues for work. Most are willing to take any work available whether they are qualified or not. Anybody with a truck and a rake can call themselves a landscape company. The problem with using this type of service for […]
I am frequently asked, “What is an organic landscape?” and “How do I get started?” The answer to the first question is difficult to answer because it depends on the individual. For me it is simple, an organic landscape is a landscape that relies on natural processes to maintain its health and appearance without the […]
Here is a small spiral flagstone patio we recently completed for a customer. We added some boulders and drought tolerant plants around the edge to create a natural feel. The stones are laid on a bed of concrete for stability, but joints are filled with soil to give it a more organic feel. Eventually plants will fill some of the gaps.
What is Mulch?
Mulch is any loose material placed over the soil to control weeds and conserve soil moisture and provides habitat for many beneficial soil organisms. Mulch is usually a coarse organic matter, such as leaves, clippings or bark. Mulch can also be composed of plastic sheeting and other commercial products.
Types of Mulch
Organic Mulch are mulches that used to be living material, such as bark, straw, leaves, grass clippings and pine needles. Organic mulches improve the soil by adding nutrients as they decompose and encouraging earthworm activity. Organic mulches attract insects, slugs, cutworms and many beneficial organisms to your soil. They decompose over time and need to be replaced after several years.
Inorganic mulches are made from man-made materials that do not decompose or decomposes very slowly. Although they rarely need replacing, they do not do much to contribute to the long term health of your soil. Inorganic mulch are made from recycled rubber, plastic, brick, stone, landscape fabric, etc. They do have an application in some situations where inorganic mulches are impractical.
Where to use Mulch
Mulch can be used almost anywhere. However, mulch is more useful around tree trunks and around the soil of new plants.
Mulching is a very important step in growing a healthy plant. Mulch helps to conserve moisture in the root ball of the new plant until the roots have grown out into the surrounding soil. Mulch also helps to prevent tree trunk injury by mowers and trimmers. Newly planted trees require a circle of mulch 3 to 4 feet in diameter. Maintain this for five years. Mulch entire beds of shrubs, trees, annuals, herbaceous perennials and ground covers.
Light-weight mulch such as dried grass clippings and pine straw can be used as a temporarily cover for low-growing plants during the winter season.
Benefits of Mulch
•Mulching your flower and vegetable beds will drastically reduce the amount of time spent weeding, watering and fighting pests.
•Mulches provide habitat for beneficial soil organisms to colonize plant beds
•Mulches prevent loss of water from the soil by evaporation.
•Mulch reduce the growth of weeds.
•Mulch maintains a more even soil temperature by keeping the soil cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
•Mulches prevent soil splashing, which stops erosion and keeps soil-borne diseases from splashing up onto the plants.
•Organic mulches continuously improve the soil structure and add nutrients to the soil.
•Mulches improve the absorption and movement of water into the soil.
•Mulches prevent the trunks of trees and shrubs from damage by lawn equipment.
•Mulches help prevent soil compaction.
•Mulched plants have more roots than plants that are not mulched, because mulched plants will produce additional roots in the mulch that surrounds them.
If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to get your irrigation system winterized. With cooler weather on its way plants will not need watering for some time. Even if we do not get significant precipitation form this storm it is still a good idea to shut your system down. This will prevent ice from creating dangerous conditions on sidewalks.
If left pressurized, freezing can rupture many parts of your irrigation system resulting in costly repairs.