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Water Wednesdays Recap – Mulching

What is mulch? Mulch is a product used to cover the soil. It is often composed of tree bark, needles, wood, leaves, or grass. Sometimes mulch is made from inorganic materials such as recycled tires, gravel or pebbles. Spreading mulch over planting beds provides a beautiful uniform texture and color. More importantly, it helps conserve water. Last Water Wednesdays, the Horticulture Agent in Lake County, Brook Moffis, gave us an overview why mulch is one of nine principle of Florida-Friendly Landscaping.

Why Use Mulch

Mulch is an essential component of Florida-Friendly landscaping. It creates a buffer between the soil and the air. In that way it protects plants’ roots from extremes of heat and cold. It also keeps soil moist longer after irrigation, giving roots extra time to soak up the water. In some shady areas where turf and ornamentals won’t thrive, mulch can be used as an attractive groundcover. where it’s difficult to mow or irrigate. If you use organic materials as your mulch, it can also add nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. Mulch can even help reduce erosion and protect plants from certain diseases. The list goes on and on.

How to Use Mulch Wisely

Have you seen “volcano mulching”? You only need to maintain a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch around established trees, shrubs, and bedding plants. Adding more mulch can harm plants because mulch intercepts rain and irrigation meant for plants’ root systems. If mulch is piled against the trunk, pull it back several inches to uncover the base of the trunk and the root flare. Mulch piled against tree trunks holds moisture against the trunk, and stems and trunks that remain constantly
wet are prone to root rot. This Florida-Friendly Landscape handbook outlines the basics how to use mulch wisely.

To learn more about mulching, please click the video below.

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