When and how often you remove mulch depends on what your goals for the garden are. Most people prolong the time because of the laborious nature of the activity; however very therapeutic.
The importance of mulch in your yard is that it adds nutrients to the soil, builds soil structure, and keeps your plants healthy while suppressing the weeds.
It creates a shade to the soil from extreme weather conditions. Whether cold or hot. The soil will retain its nutrients.
To know if it’s time to change the mulch in your yard. Begin by inspecting it to see if it’s rotten or turned yellow. You could use your hand to feel the texture and a rake to help you move the mulch easily.
If it is rotten, you will need to remove the mulch. This is because the mulch will be a habitat for pests while denying the soil the necessary nutrients. This could be the case, especially when you have been adding more mulch on top over the years.
Even though it is nutritious because the mulch will decompose after some time, the moisture becomes too much.
Fungi will grow too due to the microbial in the rotten mulch. Therefore, the nutrients that were supposed to go to the soil will feed the fungi.
If the mulch is piled up around the trees, shrubs, and garden beds, it could suffocate and kill the plant life. This is because moisture is just packed and sitting around the plants. Causing the microbial to feed on the stem of the plant.
You will need a rake to collect all the mulch in a pile for disposal. Then tilt the yard and turn over the soil to increase aeration. Here the situation could go both ways.
Either add fresh mulch after a few days of the soil getting some sun. The required height is usually 3 inches; however, if you use inorganic mulch such as pea gravel, you could get away with 2 inches.
Often the organic mulch recommended is wood chips, tree bark, or straw pines. Ensure that the material you choose is the one in contact with soil. For maximum nitrification.
Or you could opt to grow out grass. Which is also a great way of utilizing the soil in your yard. Begin by filling up the uneven areas with compost to level the yard. Don’t put too much as it can suffocate and kill the grass.
It would be an added advantage to turn the soil over through tilting. Then get to fertilizing and leave it to rest for a few days before seeding. Use a slow-release all-natural fertilizer. Don’t overdo it and burn your lawn.
There is no rule as to how many seeds you can put. The more, the better. The seed you choose depends on the climate you live in. Ensure you regularly water the lawn, so the topsoil is constantly moist but not sogging.
The easiest way to remove mulch from your yard is through raking. Put them together in a pile for disposal. Use a leaf blower to collect those leaves that are scattered everywhere.
After that, mow the lawn to give it a fresh look. While doing this, trimming off the overhanging branches would be a good idea. It would also increase the amount of sunlight coming into your yard.
In case you have fresh mulch that is still healthy for the soil. You can always add on top some more mulch. This way, you are just adding on more nutrients while perpetuating the breakdown of the organic material.
You could also need to add up if wind, rain, and foot traffic remove some of the mulch. To ensure there is proper coverage. Especially if you have frequent rains or weather conditions that increase the decomposition rate.
However, there is no benefit in having a pile of mulch close to an edge such as pavement, stepping stone, or tree trunk. Tweak that thickness into a thin layer.
Do try out different types of mulch. Instead of pine straws and shredded hardwood bark, try options such as cocoa bean shells or salvaged palettes. They do smell good as well.
Mulching can also help with the control of soil erosion. Bare soil loses more nutrients as compared to that covered in the mulch.
Putting a layer of plastic or landscaping fabric beneath the mulch is not always necessary. It could cause more water to run off or keep your garden from having a clean, streamlined look.
However, it also saves on water, offsets the need for herbicides, and reduces the labor costs associated with weeding. If it’s the end of the season and you desire to remove the plastic mulch.
Begin by removing the sticks that hold the edges, then pull out the sheets. Consider removing them so they can be recycled since they are not biodegradable.
If your yard is big, you could use a tractor to do the removal. It will be quick and will leave the plastic rolled in a neat fold.
After that, level the ground using a rake, fertilize it, water it, and plant your grass.
Organic mulch decomposes over time. Therefore, it will need to be replaced eventually. Usually, mulch should last about 5 years, but this time frame depends on the type of mulch used and the weather conditions.
If you have dyed mulch, you will have to replace it yearly. This is because they change their color over time; although still effective, they are not as visually attractive. Hence replacing them would be a good way of improving the landscape aesthetic.
Bark mulch usually lasts longer than wood chips. The shredded mulch is sometimes washed away by the rains or blown away by high winds. Depending on the size, you might replace mulch yearly or every three to five years.
While there isn’t a simple answer to how often you should replace the mulch. It is important to maintain your mulch. Replenish and replace it whenever you see signs of decomposition or rotting.
When bulbs are planted deep into the soil, at the recommended depth, which is usually about three times the bulb’s height. They can easily manage to pierce the soil and find their way up into the sun.
They will grow through the 4 inches or even more mulch as if it weren’t there.
All you need to do is temporarily move the mulch from where you want to plant the bulbs. Plant them, cover them with soil, replace the mulch, and water them well.
Remember that mulch is not a smoother weed but an anti-germinator. Meaning it is more of a preventive measure. Therefore it will not harm your bulb.
Lawn care over mulched areas can sometimes be difficult. The mulch could be blown out of proportion while mowing. The best idea would be to dig up a trench separating the two. This way, you could mow along the mulch without touching it.
Trench edging also provides a barrier to prevent grass from growing into flower beds. You will require no cost except for your energy and a spade. In addition, expect to cut the edging a few times each year to redefine the lines due to soil erosion.
Is it possible to lay grass on top of mulch? Well, this will depend on the amount of wood chip compared to the amount of topsoil. if it’s mostly topsoil, then you will not have a problem.
However, if it’s vice versa and the wood chips are many, you will need to remove as many of them as possible. Although the grass would still grow on top of the wood chips, you would need to fertilize and water the grass more frequently. And still, the grass would still not grow as good as it would if laid over the topsoil.
If you are planting grass seeds instead of laying sod on topsoil, mulch could come in handy. How? By spreading a light layer of your chosen mulch evenly over the entire seeded area. It will lock in the moisture and fertilizer that the grass needs to grow.
Removing the mulch during spring may encourage your plants to bloom. You could remove some of the old mulch and leave the top layer. Hence, aerating the garden area.
However, if you want to get rid of the mulch completely, shovel it into a wheelbarrow and dump it onto a tarp. Then till it composts into the garden soil with a spade.
In the end, mulch is important in your yard, but only if you desire to enrich the soil. This is due to the amount of labor involved; you have to find it somehow enjoyable.
On the other hand, having grass on your lawn is visually appealing. However, grass can not do well in poor soil. Therefore, it would benefit you more if you found a middle ground between them.