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Why use mulch in Chicago?

Mulch serves many purposes in your outdoor space. The primary purposes are to:

  1. reduce water evaporation
  2. prevent weeds
  3. reduce erosion
  4. add a beautiful texture to your garden

Because the sun isn’t able to reach the soil, it’s unable to bake-out the moisture when mulch is there to insulate against evaporation. Therefore, you’ll reduce the amount of water you have to provide your plants, especially in the warmer months.

Weeds will have a difficult time germinating through a good 2-3 inches of mulch, so adding this top-dressing can help reduce the amount of maintenance you need to do. The amount of product you need will vary by variety, so make sure you ask your local garden center.

Mulch has been proven repeatedly to reduce the amount of soil runoff. To keep your flower beds intact, add thick layers of mulch to prevent the runoff of soil and keep your bed in place. You’ll also achieve a much cleaner look in your garden bed, compared to leaving the soil bare. There are several varieties that will lend a nice aesthetic to your space.

Do I need to use landscape fabric or plastic?

It’s probably that you can skip adding plastic or landscape fabric under the mulch. If you are using organic material, fabric or plastic will hinder the mixing it into the soil to create humus. Humus is the ideal planting medium and should be encouraged to form in your garden. Also, plastic can increase the water runoff which will hurt the plants long term. If you’re looking to use landscape fabric as a weed barrier, a 2-3 inch layer of mulch will effectively function to suppress a majority of weed seeds from getting the sunlight they need to germinate and grow.

Is there such a thing as bad mulch?

YES! For example, product from an unreliable source might be stored next to a field with weeds. When you receive the delivery, this may carry the weed seeds to your property. Or, perhaps they’ve collected diseased material that can spread issues to your garden. These could be issues you have to deal with for a long time.

Make sure you get mulch from a reliable and reputable source like https://www.platthillnursery.com/bulk-products/.

Platt Hill Nursery is Chicago’s premier garden center and nursery.

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