An unusual event occurred in a recent winter and early spring, one that has been on hiatus for quite some time. That would be the rainy season…days and days when that wet stuff falls out of the sky. Gardeners were elated-and so were the weeds. I don’t know about you, but I was taken by surprise, having become accustomed to a drought induced, less frenzied spring weeding season. This year along with roses that sent up lush spring foliage and abundant blooms and herbaceous plants that have displayed the kind of spring growth that’s been unseen for a few years, the weeds were spawning beneath them with abandon. I pulled, it rained, they grew back, I pulled it rained, you get the idea. Smother mulching is my answer to put the brakes on this cycle, and now is the time before the summer weeds –such as the evil spotted spurge—take over from the dreaded shotweed and annual bluegrass. A well mulched garden will not only inhibit weed seed germination, the open tilth makes pulling those few seedlings that make it past your barrier less onerous.
A two to 3 inch layer of mulch has other benefits. Though we did get rain this winter, our dry, Mediterranean-like summer climate is a permanent fixture . Rain for the next several months is rare indeed, whether we are in a drought year or not. Your generous top dressing of mulch helps retain soil moisture, limits evaporation and cools the soil. In addition to the water retentive values, a mulch composed of fine organic materials will improve soil structure and favor earthworms and beneficial soil microbes.
Which mulch to use depends on your gardening style and the look you prefer. For example, I dig a lot holes and move plants around constantly so a soil type of mulch material such as GreenAll Firmulch or Gardener and Bloom Soil Building Conditioner are what suits my garden. In a shrub border or a more static garden environment, bark chips or shredded bark might be the answer. Come in and ask one of our friendly customer service associates what they recommend. we’re here to help!
While you’re visiting, take a nice colorful detour from weed management and explore Central Valley’s vast selection of containers. Empty or planted, containers make great focal point in the garden or on the deck or patio.