Yes, mulch really is marvelous! But how is it different from compost? Compost is any kind of decayed organic material – vegetable scraps, leaves, grass clippings, or similar material. Finished compost is brown and crumbly, smells earthy, and is packed with rich nutrients that plants need to grow. Compost is best used by working it into the soil so that plants can absorb these nutrients through their roots. On the other hand, mulch is organic material that is spread on top of the soil as a protective layer. The main reason for using mulch is to minimize gardening chores, and who can argue with that? That’s why it’s pretty much impossible to say enough good things about mulch. Even if you never were good at math, it’s easy to see that when you add up the benefits of mulch, they greatly outweigh the cost and effort to install and maintain it. A fresh layer of mulch around plants, bushes and trees creates an instant facelift for your landscape. (Fresh mulch = enhanced curb appeal.) Maintaining a layer of mulch about 3 inches deep creates a protective layer which stabilizes soil, reduces soil erosion, and suppresses weed growth. (Fewer weeds = less need for weed killer.) Mulch also helps soil absorb water more efficiently and traps in moisture. (More moisture = less frequent watering.) Mulch prevents harmful fluctuations in soil temperature, promotes better root systems, and assists plants in resisting pests and disease. (More resilient plants = healthier, lusher landscape.) Mulch promotes the growth of beneficial soil microorganisms which gradually decompose the mulch and help to enrich the soil from the top down. (Richer soil = less need for fertilizer.) And most importantly, mulch reduces yard work. (Less work = more free time!) Bottom line: including mulch in your landscape truly provides one of the greatest returns on your investment than nearly any other landscape element.
Do Dah Day, May 16 – Caldwell and Rhodes Parks, Birmingham. Come on out to Birmingham’s oldest event and support local pet charities. Storm Water Management staff will be there again with the ever popular poo toss game. We will be distributing pet waste bags and flyers to reinforce the importance of picking up after your pet.
Brown Bag Seminar Series – Birmingham Botanical Gardens, 2612 Lane Park Road, Birmingham. This free seminar series offers practical landscape design, fresh lawn and garden ideas, and proper planting and maintenance techniques. No reservations are required; light refreshments are provided. Visit bbgardens.org to learn more.