Mulch Mulch Mulch! I cannot stress enough the importance of using good aerobic organic material for mulching shrub, tree, perennial, & flower beds. It is the best multi-use tool in the landscaping arsenal.
“During the summer, when 50 to 80 percent of our water consumption is used outside — we may waste as much as half of the water we use! – Texas Water Development Board”
Bare soil is huge problem that does so much harm to our soils and plants. Visiting the piney woods of North Houston/Spring/Conroe or the prairies of South Houston, you will see what we call “mulch” happening all around you. Nature uses dead material to protect the living soils that support plants.
- Prevents the crusting of bare soil – “When water droplets land on bare soil, the impact causes soil particles to fly in all directions, resulting in soil crusting and slow water infiltration.”(1)
- Provides habitats for the microbes
- Reduces erosion
- Maintains temperature during our scorching Summers & any cold Winters we may have. – “A 3” layer of organic mulch can lower soil temperature by about 25-30° F, which reduces plant stress and water requirements. Bare soil can easily reach 100-135°F, which speeds evaporation and dries out the soil, which stresses the plant, resulting in wilting, more insect and disease problems, and in most plants, eventual death”(2)
- Feeds the soil microbes
- Reduces Evaporation – “A good layer of mulch can save up to 1500 gallons of water a month.”(3)
- Suppresses weed growth
NOT all mulch is equal. Make sure you are applying the best for your scenario. Take a look at the types of mulch available for the Greater Houston Area.
(1) Cornell Plantations: by Donald A. Rakow, Originally published 7/89, reprinted 2/94, revised slightly 4/00 cpm.
(2) Organic Management for the Professional: The Natural Way for Landscape Architects and Contractors, Commercial Growers, Golf Course Managers, Park Administrators, Turf Managers, and Other Stewards of the Land, by Howard Garrett, John Ferguson, and Mike Amaranthus: University of Texas Press, First edition, 2012
(3) North Fort Bend Water Authority. http://www.nfbwa.com/conservation/23640_PC-NFBWA-Save%20Water%20Yard.pdf