Mulch Is Key to a Healthy Austin Tree

Nov 4, 2015 - 5:55 pm

Mulch is a material used to protect the soil and inhibit weed growth by covering the ground. Good mulches include wood chips, leaves, grass clippings, and compost. They can benefit your lawn and garden by preventing erosion, suppressing weeds, moderating soil temperature, and adding nutrients as they break down slowly. Mulching also helps conserve water by reducing water lost through evaporation.



How to Use Mulch

  • Put a 3- to 4-inch layer of mulch around your trees and shrubs and a 2-inch layer around your garden plants. To prevent diseases and pest infestation, mulch should not be piled up against the stems or trunks of plants. For best results, use long-lasting mulches (wood chips, wood shavings, evergreen needles).

  • Create a self-mulching lawn! Wait to mow until your grass is between 2 and 4 inches high. Then mow off only the top one-third of the grass and don’t bag the clippings. This way, the clippings will feed your soil and won’t smother your grass.

  • If you have too many clippings, rake them into mulch layers around trees and shrubbery.


Use the thumb rule when spreading mulch under a tree. 


Mulching Basics

  • Mulch all areas that are not covered in grass or thick ground cover.

  • Use a layer of coarse mulch 3 inches or deeper for weed control.

  • When converting grassy areas to mulch, smother the grass with a thick layer of cardboard or newspaper rather than using chemicals. Some hardy grasses must be rooted out for successful removal.

  • Blanket dormant perennials with several inches of shredded leaves or whole pine needles to protect them from the freezing weather.

  • Spread mulches under annuals after they are well-established.

  • Water the ground thoroughly before and after applying a mulch cover.

  • Do not put organic mulch where water flows rapidly or it may wash out.

  • Rock and other heavy, inert materials can be used as berms or buffers to slow the flow of water entering mulched areas, protecting them from wash-out.

Get Your Free Mulch from Austin Resource Recovery

Article submitted by Susanne Harm, Public Information Specialist Sr., Austin Resource Recovery