5 Additional Tips for Gardeners

May 22, 2018

How do you mulch around a tree?

How many trees do you see day to day that have mulch piled up around them? These are called mulch volcanos. They are pretty prevalent, but they’re actually not beneficial to the tree at all. Piling mulch around the base of the tree trunk can cause the bark to begin to rot and invite disease. The proper way to mulch around a tree is to keep the mulch more at ground level, no more than two to four inches, and keep the mulch at least five inches from the tree trunk.

Mulch Perennial GardenHow much mulch should you place in a perennial garden?

Mulch is a great way to keep the weeds down in a perennial bed, conserve moisture and really tidy up the area for a uniform look. There are different types of mulches, such as shredded cedar or pine bark. About two to three inches applied mid to late spring is ample. Keep the mulch away from the stems of plants to prevent them from rotting.

Benefits of Mulch

The benefits of mulch
Not only does a mulched garden look great as it forms a uniform layer around the plants, it is a great way to prevent weeds, cool the soil in a heatwave and conserve moisture. Mulch is especially beneficial to hot, sunny gardens, whether they are edible or ornamental. And, depending on what type of mulch you use, it will break down over time and nourish the soil, which is win-win!

How to create a soil mix for a raised bed
If you are looking to fill a raised bed—or two or three—with soil, there are a few options. Mel Bartholomew, who created the square foot gardening method, recommends one third perlite or vermiculite, one third peat, and one third compost (with about six different types of compost in the mix). Another option is to arrange for a soil delivery, fill the raised beds and top-dress them with about two to three inches of compost (mushroom, shrimp, organic vegetable compost, etc.).

Soil Mixed Raise Bed

How to use a soil calculator

If you have multiple areas in the garden to fill with mulch or stone, special calculators can take the guesswork out of how much you need.

AllTreat Farms’ stone and mulch calculator provides recommendations for the depth of mulch or stones that are typically used in an area. From there you can choose which measuring system you’d prefer, and then enter the depth and area of your garden. The calculator will indicate the volume of the space (pathway or garden), and how many bags are needed to fill it.