Gardening Tips: Mulch & Soil Health

Gardening Tips: Mulch & Soil Health
October 22, 2015 SNH Editorial Team
Black Landscaping Mulch

Some people think of mulch as decorative top dressing of flower beds. Some people spread mulch to keep weeds down.  Yes, it does that too. Mulch always gives a garden that finished or defined look.

But mulch has an important function too: it protects the roots of trees, shrubs and plants through cold winter temperatures and hot summer days. During the summer mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil.  During the winter it keeps frost away from delicate tree roots. So mulch quietly helps your trees and plantings year around.

What type of mulch should you spread on your property? Are there quality differences? Yes, peat moss is generally regarded to be the best quality or healthiest mulch.  It is also the most expensive.  From a visual point of view I like dark brown/ black mulch.  Yes, it is dyed to that color.  It gives your garden a crisp, sharp look.

Are there types of mulch to avoid? Yes, stay away from red or orange mulch.  It instantly gives your property a cheap, tacky look.

How often do you need to spread mulch?  That depends on the thickness of the mulch bed you put down.  Spread a good 2” mulch on the first go-around and you will only have to top dress your beds a little bit every 2-3 years.

One more tip: Before you top dress with mulch install landscape fabric and make your garden beds practically maintenance free. Do away with days of weeding your garden beds. Be the gardener who actually gets to garden and not only weed.

So Emo.” by Travis Isaacs is licensed under CC BY 2.0


  1. Nancy DiLeo 1 year ago

    I have a question more than a comment: my landscapers came very early this year and put down peet much in my gardens. Prior to this I had ordered a large quantity of seeds to plant in the gardens what is the best way now for me to plant all of these seeds, do I just do it in the mulch or must I move the mulch sow the seeds and put mulch over?
    Thank you

    • TNH Editorial Team Author
      TNH Editorial Team 1 year ago

      Hi Nancy, thanks for the question! It really depends on the thickness of the mulch. If the mulch is a couple inches deep you can literally take your finger and make a groove into the mulch and drop your seed in, cover and water. If the mulch is too deep (2 inches or more) then it’s important to pull the mulch back and allow your plant to germinate and get established before putting the mulch back. Hope this helps! Happy gardening. – Sabine

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