If you have areas of your yard that are mulched with a wood chip or bark product, now is a great time to topdress it. Here are a couple of reasons to tackle mulching soon.
Take advantage of free mulch while it lasts.
Some communities only offer free mulch in the spring. If you live in Fort Collins, Denver, or Douglas County, go get free mulch before it’s no longer available. For some cities, this is the last weekend it will be offered. Where can you get free mulch? Here are several sources in Colorado Front Range communities.
- Fort Collins: May 18, 2013
- Denver: now through the end of May
- Douglas County: May 18, 2013
- Black Forest: May 18 through September 28, 2013
- Colorado Springs: continuous
Mulch before summer arrives.
Mulch retains moisture in the soil. By making sure the mulch in your yard is 4 inches deep, you’ll help your landscape plants tolerate the transition to hot summer weather. Since most landscape plants are still relatively small, it’s still possible to maneuver amongst them. Mulch is one of the best strategies to help your plants thrive during water restrictions.
Mulch also prevents new weeds germinating from seed. The mulch will literally keep the weed seeds “in the dark” so they think they’re far below the soil surface. By mulching now, you can reduce the time you’ll spend weeding later in the summer.
Here’s how to topdress mulch.
Use a mulch that is similar to the mulch that’s already in your yard so it blends well. Simply add more mulch on top of the existing layer. There’s no need to mix it together.
When adding new mulch, you may be bothered by the color difference. Old mulch is grey, while new mulch is brown (usually). If you need to add new mulch over bare patches of soil while other spots are well-covered, you’ll end up with a splotchy color difference throughout your mulched area.
To prevent this problem, it’s helpful to first rake around the old mulch so you have an even layer. Second, add enough new mulch over the entire area to bring the layer up to 4 inches deep. This approach will create a more uniform look because everything will covered with some new mulch.
How deep should the mulch layer be?
Try to bring the mulch layer up to 4 inches deep around trees, shrubs, perennial flower, and ornamental grasses. You can use a thinner layer around groundcovers and smaller plants.
When topdressing mulch, I always find I need to add more than what’s intuitive. Make an effort to apply it thick enough. If you only sprinkle a little on top of your existing mulch layer, you’ll have to replenish the layer again soon. Save future work by adding enough mulch to create a true 4 inch layer.
If you’re considering mulching a large area of your yard, you may find my “How to Mulch” guide helpful. It will provide the information you need to ensure your mulch project is a great success.
I can understand if adding more mulch to your yard is not the most attractive task on a precious weekend, but keep in mind it’s part of regular yard maintenance that will pay off. People with nice looking yards work on them regularly. That regularity is a secret to success.