Mulching does more than add curb appeal!

Spreading bark mulch or compost on the flower beds around your house can really add to your curb appeal.
The uniform appearance of bark around your landscaping does well to set off the treasures you’ve planted, pruned and watered. But bark or compost does far more than just look pretty. If your flowerbeds are currently bare dirt or it’s been several years since you last applied a fresh layer of mulch, here are three great reasons to grab your gloves and a wheelbarrow and get to work.

First, bark is great for regulating soil temperature. Bare dirt heats up quickly on sunny days and freezes quickly on cold winter days. By adding a layer of mulch to your beds, you can help insulate the ground from the dramatic temperature swings that might stress or damage your plants.

Second, mulch helps to retain moisture in your flowerbeds, meaning you’ll have less watering to do. When exposed to the sun, bare dirt tends to dry out quickly. With a good layer of mulch to protect it, however, it retains moisture much better on warm days when it counts.

Third–and maybe of most value to you–bark mulch greatly controls weeds. Bare dirt is just an invitation for weeds (and lots of work to follow), but bark will keep most of those weeds from germinating–and stifle many weed seeds already present in the soil. This is where compost has to play second fiddle, though; compost certainly can help with weed control, but because it’s nutrient-rich, weed seeds that blow in will be more likely to germinate in it than bark. 

With warm, dry weather coming, now is a great time to spread bark or compost in your flowerbeds to keep your plants’ roots cooler and the soil more moist. But how much to spread? If you don’t currently have any mulch in your beds, plan to build up a base layer of three inches this go-around. In future years, you can spread an inch or two to freshen things up, but you’ll achieve the best results with a deeper initial layer.

One of the most common questions we get at Vander Giessen’s is, “How much bark do I need?” As a good rule of thumb, plan to spread one cubic yard over 100 square feet at three inches deep. Or, if you just need to freshen things up, a yard covers 300 square feet at an inch deep. At Vander Giessen’s, we sell bark and compost in bags and by the cubic yard–and we deliver, too, if you’d rather leave that part of the job to us.

It’s summer time, the season when we like to kick back and enjoy a break from the busy pace of the rest of the year. If your flowerbeds could use some fresh mulch, you’ll eliminate a lot of work and stress on your plants for the rest of the year with a little time invested now. This weekend, enlist your family members to help spread some bark or compost in your beds. With less needed watering and fewer weeds for the rest of the year, you’ll be glad you did!