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Mulching in Ann Arbor

Mulching is one of those gardening activities Ann Arbor, Michigan gardeners either love or hate. There are many benefits to using mulch to create a well controlled, neat looking yard depending on the type of mulch Ann Arbor gardeners choose for their flower beds. Mulch is often used by gardeners, not just in Ann Arbor, but around the world to slow the invasion of weeds and control the temperature and moisture in the soil beneath the mulch surface.

The temperatures in Michigan can plummet in the Winter and become difficult to gauge during the Spring, when an unexpected frost can lower the soil temperature dramatically overnight. The main reasons for mulching in Ann Arbor, Michigan are:

  • Control soil temperature
  • Retain moisture
  • Prevent frost heaving

Soil temperature control can be important in both the Summer and Winter months, with low temperatures in the Winter and Spring leading to root damage that wipes out an entire garden full of plants. Adding a layer of mulch to an Ann Arbor, Michigan bed can result in a layer of protection being provided during the Winter, with soil temperatures not reaching freezing when mulch is added to the soil surface.

Mulch can also act as a protection from plants drying out during the Summer months, when the temperatures rise and gardeners in Ann Arbor, Michigan like to see their handiwork in full bloom. The soil beneath the surface can retain water or dry out without the owner of the garden knowing, causing root damage that can inhibit future growth and blooming potential. Adding mulch is a good way of ensuring the Sun and hot temperatures do not reach the soil beneath and dry out the ground causing large amounts of damage to the plants.

Moisture and temperature must be closely controlled by a successful Ann Arbor, Michigan gardener through mulching flower beds and around larger plants. During the Winter months, an unprotected bed without the benefits of mulch can result in a phenomenon called frost heaving. This occurs when frost penetrates deep within the soil and contracts the soil through the formation of ice crystals within the dirt. As the soil contracts, the plants beneath are starved of space in the soil and are then pushed upwards and out of the ground, where they die without the swift action of an Ann Arbor gardener.

The scourge of every Ann Arbor gardener is the problem of weeds invading the areas planted with flowers, vegetables and trees. Mulching in Ann Arbor gardens is a successful way of reducing the effect of weeds and limiting their passage across a yard to destroy the work of the gardener. Not only do weeds look unattractive, they also compete with the desired plants for moisture and nutrients from within the soil. Using mulch, such as tree bark and rubber pellets does not allow weeds to spread across a yard, but the use of leaves or grass clippings as mulch does allow the threat of weed growth to continue.