Your landscape plants and gardens in Central Florida need protection from the intense heat. The best defense is mulch. 

This essential gardening tool is known for keeping plants from being stressed by the high temperature at the root level. But that is only the beginning of what mulch can offer. 

When mulch is applied to the ground, it reduces water loss due to evaporation. This allows the topsoil, where a good percent of the root activity takes place, to stay cool and moist. Instead of being strained by the heat, the plant roots are healthy and happy. 

But the benefits of mulch keep going. A good layer of mulch, about three inches deep, winder weeds from growing, if not eliminating them completely. Organic mulch also creates a healthy environment for the plants by adding nutrient rich organic matter when it breaks down.

Mulch also decreases soil erosion, diminishes soil runoff, and stops soil compacting during heavy rains, while creating a refined and attractive landscape. 

Even with all these benefits, gardeners and homeowners updating their landscape don’t use it enough. To take advantage of all of the benefits of mulch, the University of Florida Gardening Solutions offers these tips.

Maintain a 2- to 3-inch layer. Coarse materials, such as pine nuggets, may be applied to a depth of 4 inches, but don’t allow mulch to accumulate to a greater depth. Adding more mulch can harm trees because mulch intercepts rain and irrigation meant for plants’ root systems.

Avoid “volcano mulching.” When mulch is piled against the base of a tree, it holds moisture, encouraging rot in the trunk. It also encourages roots to grow close to the trunk, which can kill the tree if roots grow around the trunk.

Mulch to the drip line or beyond. The mulched area around the tree should be at least 8 feet in diameter. Remember that in a forest environment, a tree’s entire root system (which usually extends well beyond the drip line) would be naturally mulched.

Remove old mulch. Some mulches can become matted, preventing water and air from seeping through. Occasionally (every couple of years), you should remove mulch and soil that is against the trunk, together with any roots growing in the mulch. Remove old mulch before adding fresh mulch to the landscape.

It is very important to use quality mulch. Purchasing mulch from an unreliable source can cause all your hard work to go to waste. For instance, if the bag of mulch you purchased at the big box store had noxious seeds, you could be spending the rest of the season pulling weeds and trying to repair the damages instead of admiring your beautiful landscape

Quality mulch can save you time and money, while making your landscape or garden look amazing. Contact Reliable Peat and have fresh mulch delivered to your home.

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