Mulch helps plants and keeps soil healthy. All plants greatly benefit from mulching.
The application or re-application of mulch is important to provide your garden once per year. Cedar or cypress bark is recommended due to its resistance to rot and fade, and has the ability to stabilize soil in beds and retain moisture. Cedar also repels insects. Other grades of mulch are available, but you will find that they will fade and float away, thus not being as effective.
Here are some of the benefits:
- Conserving soil moisture
- Preventing crusty soil at the surface
- Maintaining the ideal soil temperature
- Reducing weed seed germination
- Reducing weed growth
- Preventing the splashing of soil fungus during rain and watering
- Lessening cold damage
- Slowing soil erosion
- Reducing soil compaction
- Adding a clean and beautiful look to a landscape
Following the LSU AgCenter's recommendation, we suggest mulching annual bedding plants and herbaceous perennials to about 1'' deep; shrubs to 2'' and trees 3-4'' deep.
Be careful not to use excessive amounts of mulch. If it is too deep around plants it creates health-related problems for plants. Research has shown that mulching deeper than 4'' is not healthy.
You can add new mulch to old mulch and do not have to use the same mulch material each time.