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How to Mulch Plants (From Potted Plants to Garden Beds)

How to Mulch Plants (From Potted Plants to Garden Beds)

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Many people are familiar with mulch. It’s an organic compound that you spread on top of soil to help it retain moisture.

Plus, mulch can improve the fertility and health of the growing medium. Because of that, it’s no surprise that it’s one of the most important tools in a gardener’s arsenal.

Yet, few people know how to apply mulch to plants. So, if you’re trying to figure out the best way to use the organic compound, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to mulch plants to ensure they thrive.

How to Mulch Potted Plants

Mulching potted plants is a simple process that only takes a few minutes. Yet, it includes many steps.

In this section, we’ll cover the instructions that you should follow.

First up, start by pruning your plants. Since mulch will go directly on top of the soil, you have to create a little space for the organic compound to go.

So, grab your trusty gardening shears and begin snipping. Focus on the leaves at the base of the plant.

Remove any foliage that prevents you from seeing the surface of the soil. Then, clear out any small rocks or pebbles you find on top of the growing medium.

Once that’s done, you’re ready to mulch. Spread out an even layer of the organic compound directly on the soil surface.

You want this to be about two to three inches thick.

Finally, water your potted plants, and you’re good to go.

How to Mulch Garden Beds

Mulching garden beds is just as easy as mulching potted plants. However, the process isn’t exactly the same.

You have to complete the steps in a different order to ensure you don’t harm your plants.

For starters, you should begin by cleaning the garden bed. Grab a gardening shovel and remove any dead leaves, sticks, or other debris you find.

Take your time with this step and clear out the bed as best as you can.

After that, it’s pruning time. Pick up your gardening shears and snip off any leaves that are growing too close to the surface of the soil.

Then, you’ll have to redefine the edge between your garden bed and the lawn. This will help the mulch stay off your grass.

That way, you can avoid a muddy mess.

To do that, all you’ll need is a shovel. Use the edge of the tool to dig a shallow indentation between the bed and your lawn.

Once that’s done, grab your garden hose and give the bed a good watering. You want the soil to be slightly moist, but not damp.

This is the perfect time to sprinkle on a little fertilizer to make sure the soil is nutrient-rich.

Moving on, it’s also a good idea to remove any weeds from the garden beds. This will give you an even layer to spread out your mulch.

Speaking of the organic compound, it’s time to sprinkle it on top of the soil. Use your hands to spread the mulch and get it as close to the base of your plants as possible.

Just like with potted plants, the layer of mulch should be between two to three inches.

Finally, water your garden bed to secure the mulch in place.

When Should You Mulch Plants?

Technically, you can mulch your plants at any point throughout the year. Yet, if you want to get the most out of the organic compound, it’s best to use it around spring.

That’s because it’s right before the germination period of weeds. So, if you lay down a layer of mulch at the beginning of spring, chances are weeds won’t be able to grow in the summer.

Other than that, springtime rain can help keep the soil moist and lock the mulch in place.

Moving on, some people prefer to mulch plants in the fall. Since the weather gets colder, your plants will need a little extra insulation.

Thankfully, a layer of the organic compound can trap heat and keep your garden beds toasty.

How to Calculate How Much Mulch You Need

As we mentioned, a mulch layer should be around two to three inches. Yet, it can be difficult to gauge the thickness of the mulch with the naked eye.

So, unless you want to break out your ruler, there’s a simple way to figure out how much mulch you need.

Start out by measuring the circumference of your flower pots or garden beds.

Then, use this information to calculate the surface area of the soil. Once you have a figure, you’ll need to multiply it by two and you’re done.

This should take all the guesswork out of mulching.

Can You Over-Mulch Plants?

The answer to this question is yes, sadly you can over-mulch your soil. If you use too much of the organic compound, you can end up hurting the plants instead of helping.

That’s because mulch can reduce the oxygen content in soil. This will suffocate the roots and cause them to fade away.

Other than that, mulch is excellent at trapping moisture. So, it may not allow any water to make its way into your growing medium.

Final Thoughts

Figuring out how to mulch plants is a walk in the park. All you have to do is prune any leaves that are growing too close to the soil.

After that, clear out the growing medium of any pebbles, dead leaves, or other debris.

Next, spread an even two-inch layer of mulch directly on the soil surface. Finally, water the organic compound to lock it in place.

However, you should be careful not to use too much mulch. Otherwise, your plants will have trouble absorbing water and oxygen.


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