When is the best time to mulch a flower bed?

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As the weather gets warmer, flower beds and borders can dry out or end up being taken over by weeds. By using a layer of mulch, you can provide your garden with a stable growing environment, keeping the soil moist and warm, insulating the roots of vulnerable plants during cold snaps, adding nourishment and nutrients for the plants, helping to keep weeds at bay and deterring pests. Mulch can also be used to cover – and protect – the top of compost in plant containers.

Decorative mulch such as bark chips, wood chips and pine needles can also enhance the appearance of your garden, adding a neat, tidy look and colour and texture to the areas around your plants. However, as they decompose slowly, they won’t add much fertility to your flower bed, so are best suited to ornamental beds, or alternatively, can be placed on top of a biodegradable mulch.

You can buy a wide range of mulch from various outlets – including Stock Gardens – or for that added, eco-friendly twist, you could use your own compost. With its rich, dark colour, compost will add an attractive, uniform look to your planting areas. It also breaks down and releases its nutrients quicker, but this does mean that you will probably have to reapply it more frequently that ‘standard’ mulch. And, of course, it’s free!

The best time to mulch flower beds and borders is in late Winter or early Spring. However, with the cold weather the UK has experienced in the beginning of 2013, now is still a perfect time to protect your plants and add nutrients to the soil. By mulching in the Spring, you will be sealing in the moisture from recent rain and snow, ensuring that beds won’t dry out quickly in the Summer months. Which, of course, means less watering for you later on in the year!

It doesn’t take much to mulch a flower bed or border. Clear the surface area of any unwanted grass, weeds and rubbish and ensure the soil is moist as it is difficult to wet soil once the mulch has been added. Spread a 5cm (2 inch) layer of mulch, leaving space around each flower or plant or they won’t have adequate sunlight exposure or room to grow. Then simply rake to a level finish.

If you would like further information regarding mulching, then please do not hesitate to contact us here at Stock Gardens on 01227 652 594 or email us.

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