“Mulching” describes the time-honored practice of covering soil with a layer of material that will provide a variety of beneficial gardening results. Mulch can limit weeds, conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature, decrease soil compaction and may also reduce the spread of some soil-born diseases. Mulching materials may be organic, from living sources such as wood chips, or inorganic, such as plastic sheeting. Over time, organic mulches can help build a better soil structure that pays off in healthy, vigorous plants that may be better able to live with insect and disease infestations.
The most effective landscape mulches should not require annual replacement or extensive maintenance. Trees and shrubs in landscaped areas need mulches that can reduce weeds and are easy to maintain, conserve soil moisture, reduce compaction and moderate soil temperature. Mulching can help keep equipment such as weed whippers and mowers away from trunks and stems, which in turn reduces bark injuries.
Wood chips or shredded bark work well. We will be applying finely shredded wood chips 2 to 3 inches deep. Coarse textured bark and wood chips can be applied to a maximum depth of 6 inches; exceeding that depth will begin to block the flow of oxygen in and out of the soil. We will mulch a few inches away from all trunks and stems so not to provide a place for insects or diseases to begin attacking the plants.
Wood chips or shredded bark are often used on top of landscape fabric to achieve better weed control.
We need volunteers to help us with spreading the wood chips around the beautiful live oaks at the top of the Park in one of the picnic areas along East 19th.
The last time we spread chips in this area was about 5 years ago. They really help protect the roots of the trees from compacting due to foot traffic.
*Photographs taken by Maria Javier