Gardening Tips | Minnesota

Mulch Madness

When to Mulch and Why it Matters

It’s that time of year again. The ice is melting, the birds are chirping, and those first rays of warm sunshine are peeking through the clouds. Springtime is here, and homeowners are eager to get their yards in tip-top summer shape. Some chores, such as raking and weeding, can be completed as soon as the snow melts. Others, like mulching, should wait. Here's why.

boulder wall with stone steppers, grasses and brown mulch

Mulch is more than A Nice Aesthetic

A freshly mulched yard is sure to give your yard a clean, well-kept aesthetic. However, many landscape designers favor this product for more than the visual component. When installed correctly, mulch protects your gardens from pesky weeds, helps the soil retain moisture, and prevents soil erosion. But before you run out to your local gardening store, it's important to note that with mulch, timing matters.

cedar mulch in a retaining wall bed with perennials

When is the best Time to Mulch?

In Minnesota, mulching season is typically mid to late Spring. It should be completed once the ground has fully thawed and the soil has begun to warm. Mulching too early could delay the thawing process, affect the soil, and cause preventable issues within the garden.

Does Mulch Type Matter?

While some studies suggest certain types may be better for various plant species, mulching typically comes down to personal preference. Organic mulch includes shaved hardwood chips, pine needles, bark, or any other type of natural material. Organic mulch is typically recommended by landscape designers because it breaks down and adds organic matter back into the soil. Inorganic options, like rubber mulch or rock, are often selected because they are low maintenance and don't need to be replenished as often.

How to Mulch Your Garden

Did you know there is a science to effectively applying mulch? Applying too thin a layer will allow weeds to rise to the surface. On the other hand, too much may prevent water from reaching the soil. Landscape designers usually suggest a layer 2-4 inches deep. Don't know how many bags to buy? Check out this handy mulch calculator.

Happy Mulching!

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