Mulch a valuable landscaping ingredient

Because landscape irrigation increases water use by 35 to 75 percent during the summer irrigation season, Texas A&M AgriLife recommends adjusting landscape water conservation practices to reduce water use, save money, and still maintain beautiful scenery. Saving water is the easiest and cheapest way to make water resources sustainable for future use.

Mulch is like the icing on the cake – it looks great and keeps the soil moist. Maintain a 2 to 4 inch layer of mulch in all planted areas and around trees.

• Mulch prevents water loss from the soil through evaporation

• Mulch prevents erosion

• Mulch prevents the soil surface from becoming encrusted and thus improves the infiltration rate and water transport into the soil

• Mulch will reduce weed growth if the mulch material itself is weed-free and applied deep enough to prevent weed seeds from germinating or to stifle existing weeds. Weeds are much easier to pull from mulch than from soil.

• Mulch keeps the soil cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

• Mulch prevents the soil from being splashed, preventing damage to plants and preventing soil-borne diseases from reaching the plants.

• Mulch improves the soil structure. When mulch breaks down, the material becomes part of the soil.

• Mulch breaks down into essential plant nutrients.

• Mulch protects tree trunks and bushes from damage by lawn equipment.

• Mulch prevents soil compaction.

• Mulch adds to the beauty of the landscape by providing cover with a consistent color and texture

• Mulched plants form more roots than plants without mulch.

For more information, contact Mark Arnold, County Extension Agent-Agriculture / Natural Resources, 701 South I-35 E Service Road # 3, Waxahachie, or call 972-825-5175 or email: wmarnold @ ag .tamu.edu.

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