Mulching helps in retaining soil moisture, protects plants, and prevents weed growth.
A 2-to-3-inch deep mulch layer is recommended for plant beds. To prevent root rot, leave at least 2 inches of space around tree trunks. You can create a self-mulch area under the trees by leaving the fallen leaves on the ground. melaleuca mulch and pine straw are sustainably harvested mulches; both are an excellent choice. Since it is difficult to determine the origin of cypress mulch, the Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program does not recommend its use; protection of our native trees is also important.
There are various reasons for mulching trees and plant beds. In areas that are hard to cut or flood, are shady, or generally just difficult to maintain, mulch is a good substitute for turf or groundcovers. Mulch is a good choice wherever turf or plants do not grow well. Mulch prevents weed germination and development. Mulch makes plant beds look complete and uniform.
Leave grass cuttings on the lawn as they will decay providing nutrients to the turf. Utilize a mulching mower blade in cutting grass into tiny pieces and use the trimmings as mulch or fertilizer. Fertilizer and compost break down in the soil to provide nutrients. Fertilizing the soil can be as basic as putting leaves, grass clippings and small cuttings behind bushes or in a concealed corner of the yard and giving nature a chance to follow through with its natural decomposition progress.
Recycling yard waste is helpful in landscape maintenance and saves you money. Yard waste generation occurs through activities like raking, mowing and pruning and it makes great compost. Compost converts yard waste materials into the nutrients that, when applied, are released back to the soil through decomposed organic matter in a manner that plants can easily utilize it. You can try a combination of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials to make your compost. An example would be to combine fresh-cut grass with dried leaves. As you build the compost heap, stir the pile and add water until moist, so micro-organisms can break down the material. However, cover the pile to protect it from rain. Compost should be kept moist, but not wet. The nutrient rich compost mixture is a genuine benefit to your soil. When you combine compost with your soil, it creates a looser soil with high water-holding capability enhancing the fertility. Recycling yard waste benefits the environment since it means there is less waste going to the landfill.
Do you want to learn more? During the upcoming weeks, I will be sharing more with you about each of these principals. You may register to attend one of the free Florida-Friendly Landscaping Classes/Series in the local libraries during January and February. In addition, we are hosting the first Florida-Friendly Landscaping Spring Festival and Plant Sale Saturday, Feb. 23, at Osceola Heritage Park located at 1921 Kissimmee Valley Lane, Kissimmee. The festival will have plant vendors, classes, kid’s activities and more.
For gardening questions, contact the Plant Clinic at 321-697-3000 for a free phone consultation. Master gardeners are available to help you with your garden questions.
For more class information visit https://ocagriculture.event