Much Ado About Mulch

“You can never have enough mulch!”– Randy Lemmon

That has been a personal and fundamental gardening principle for me and many of my radio listeners have heard for over 20 years.  When I first wrote that maxim, it actually got me into a bit of trouble a few times.  I’ll explain about that trouble in just a moment. But I’ll stick by it and wholeheartedly believe you can benefit from it, too. 

It’s one of those things that friends of mine in the business of horticulture and the business of broadcasting remember to this day.   A great example of that was when I appeared on the Debra Duncan show on Channel 13 in Houston.  Debra helped break the ice with me in the make-up room by reciting my oft-repeated phrase, “You can never have enough mulch!”  She sort of pointed her finger at me, with a slight wink, acknowledging that she listened to my recent advice on the radio.

Still the main point about mulches is to use them whenever and wherever.   Why?  Here’s my Top Ten List of beneficial things.

  1. They are the First Line of Defense Against Weeds
  2. They Help Conserve Moisture in the Spring
  3. They Prevent the Soil Surface from Caking/Compacting
  4. They Conserve Moisture in the Summer
  5. They Help Insulate Roots During Drought Stress
  6. They Help Insulate Roots During Freezes
  7. They Conserve Moisture in the Winter
  8. They Break Down into Useable Organic Matter
  9. They Enhance the Aesthetics of the Garden
  10. They Help Conserve Moisture in the Fall

To this day it boggles my mind that there are some people who re-mulch once a year, if they do it at all.  I think there are three perfect times in a calendar year in which to mulch the beds and trees etc.:  EARLY SPRING, THE DEAD OF SUMMER and RIGHT BEFORE THE HEART OF WINTER.