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Common benefits and uses for Premium Hemlock, Boston Bark, Garden Mulch, and Bark Fines.
Decorative Ground Cover
One of the greatest benefits of using landscape mulch is for esthetics in the landscape. Uniformly screened mulch can provide a beautiful cover around plant material that provides color contrast or enhancement along with a clean and neat appearance. Mulch easily covers uneven ground to give the landscape a smooth sculptured look.
We all know that reducing the need for water in the landscape has been an important issue in recent years. A good layer of mulch will keep the soil at a lower temperature in the hot summer and reduce the amount of evaporation. Much like peat moss in soil blends, the natural fibrous characteristics of mulch helps retain moisture for plants’ roots and reduces plant stress.
Natural Weed Barrier
Mulch products are not meant to “kill” weeds but a thick layer (3 to 4 inch minimum) of mulch will greatly reduce unwanted weed growth. This natural blanket of mulch creates an environment that makes it difficult for weed seed to germinate. If weeds do establish, they will root into the mulch and be easier to pull out without breaking off the root system. Sometimes a porous landscape fabric may be used under the mulch for additional weed protection but never use black plastic (visqueen). Your soil needs air and moisture, and visqueen will block it out and eventually sour the soil.
Much like the protection mulch will provide in the summer, mulch will also provide soil insulation in the winter months. Mulch acts as an insulation blanket that will help protect the root systems of your plants, especially those with shallow air roots or surface roots. The porous nature of mulch will still allow air to pass through to the soil while raising the freezing depth of the soil, thus reducing the risk of frost damage to roots.
Straw, hydromulch or erosion fences cannot match up to the performance of mulch for erosion control. Tests show that a minimum of 3 to 4 inch layer of mulch properly applied to slopes or any exposed soil will provide immediate and effective erosion control. The fibers act as millions of tiny dams holding back the free flow of water carrying silt and sediment. The surface texture of mulch is effective in dispersing the energy of raindrops as they hit the ground while the mulch itself absorbs moisture and then releases it slowly. An added advantage is that on new construction projects the mulch may later be tilled in or used as a soil amendment, thus eliminating the need for additional material to be purchased and applied during the final landscaping phases.
Beneficial Microbes (Garden Mulch only)
Compost or products containing compost, like Garden Mulch, are a good source of biological activity that is necessary for healthy growth and natural resistance to many plant diseases. These beneficial microbes work in the soil as tiny agents transferring nutrients from the soil to the plant’s roots and protect the roots from certain diseases by colonizing around them. They come in many forms and are all necessary for plant growth. The key to this diversity in the soil is a properly composted material that has the right balance and level of active microbes. The Ground Effects Compost Specialist holds a position on the US Composting Council and has many years of experience in producing the proper compost for many of our products. Our compost is lab tested for nutrition and biological balance in the soil foodweb, and we can assure you that Ground Effects compost is of the highest quality available.
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