Organic Mulches: Water savings and plant savings equals money savings
Larimer County CSU Extension Master Gardener
Now that temperatures are rising, Colorado gardeners seek to create and maintain lovely landscapes, while also watering and spending wisely. One great help to these ends can be found in the form of organic mulches. There are many varieties of organic mulches, but they all share the ability to help you in the garden. Mulch keeps moisture in the soil, keeps weed populations at bay and enriches the soil as they break down.
Grass clippings are inexpensive, but dry them well first so they don’t mat later. Try to use grass which has not been sprayed with herbicides to prevent any residual carryover to plants.
Bark mulches, like cedar mulch, do cost more, but their greater weight help prevent loss due to the wind. Colored mulches are more expensive, but impart a more finished look.
Spread mulch three to four inches deep. (It will settle a bit over time.) In order to allow some added air circulation and to help prevent disease and insect problems, leave a little room around the base of each plant.
Organic mulch is especially helpful for fall plantings that could use a little extra time before frost to set down sturdy roots. Plants benefit from the moisture mulch retains. It also helps prevent plants from heaving from the ground during the various freeze-thaw cycles during winter.
Plan on re-mulching areas every couple years for a fresh look and to enable the mulch to enhance your garden’s beauty year after year!
For more information on mulches check out the CSU Extension Fact Sheet #7.214, “Mulches for Home Grounds” or go to http://www.Ext.ColoState.edu/pubs/garden/07214.html.