In The Garden: Mulching can provide value to trees, shrubs - Quincy Herald-Whig | Illinois & Missouri News, Sports

In The Garden: Mulching can provide value to trees, shrubs

With the continued dry weather, we'll look at ways to help save soil moisture.

Mulching isn't only to make your trees and shrub beds look pretty. Studies show that a mulched tree can grow faster than an unmulched tree. Mulching will add artistic flair to your landscape and help develop a good root system and a generally healthy tree by:

º Insulating soil.

º Retaining moisture.

º Blocking weeds.

º Keeping soil from compacting.

º Protecting against lawnmower damage.

However, applying mulch incorrectly -- like building a volcano of it around a tree trunk -- creates moist conditions that can lead to rot, insect invasion and girdling of the tree. The correct way to mulch is to create a moat along the edges of the tree ring and don't bank it up against the trunk.

There are two basic types of mulch: organic and inorganic.

Organic mulches, derived from plant material, decompose to enrich and improve the soil. The most popular mulch for both weed control and longevity is shredded hardwood, chip or chunkbark.

Stone, pebbles, and plastic are types of inorganic mulches.

These are used mainly for color and texture changes and offer no value as breakdown products in the soil.

Mulches that break down slowly improve the soil and don't need to be reapplied as frequently.

In contrast, mulches that break down more quickly provide better soil benefits, but need to be applied more often.

Mulching can be done anytime but usually during spring or fall, after the first frost to reduce heaving, which breaks tree roots and leads to winter injury.

The ideal depth is 2 to 3 inches. If you're using shredded hardwood mulch, lay it about 4 inches deep to allow for settling.

Mulch laid too thickly prevents drying and leads to water-logged soil, particularly during wet seasons.

Email your gardening questions to  sfernandez@qni.biz or mail your questions to Sarah Fernandez, c/o Quincy Herald-Whig, 130 S. Fifth, Quincy, IL 62301.

  • Local HeadlinesLocal HeadlinesMore>>

  • Supporters ready to take school referendum pitch to grass-roots level

    Supporters ready to take school referendum pitch to grass-roots level

    Wednesday, October 22 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-10-22 15:02:32 GMT
    The message will remain the same, but the method of delivering it is changing. Less than two weeks remain before the Nov. 4 general election, and those involved with the Committee for Building Quincy's Schools are switching from public forums to a grass-roots effort to get their message out - that passing an $89 million bond issue to spark massive changes in the Quincy School District is what's best for Quincy.
    The message will remain the same, but the method of delivering it is changing. Less than two weeks remain before the Nov. 4 general election, and those involved with the Committee for Building Quincy's Schools are...
  • Volunteers respond to report of theft to build new wheelchair ramp for veteran

    Volunteers respond to report of theft to build new wheelchair ramp for veteran

    Monday, October 20 2014 12:58 AM EDT2014-10-20 04:58:50 GMT
    Roger Rupp was incredulous when he learned his wheelchair ramp had been taken from his home two weeks ago. Rupp, a U.S. Army veteran, has multiple sclerosis. The 10-foot by 3-foot aluminum ramp helped him access a garage at the rear of his 11th Street house -- or at least it did. Quincy Police say the ramp and two handrails were swiped sometime between Oct. 5 and 6. "I really couldn't believe it," Rupp said. Neither could a group of local volunteers. After hearing about the ramp's ...
    Roger Rupp was incredulous when he learned his wheelchair ramp had been taken from his home two weeks ago. Rupp, a U.S. Army veteran, has multiple sclerosis. The 10-foot by 3-foot aluminum ramp helped him access a garage at the rear of his 11th Street house -- or at least it did. Quincy Police say the ramp and two handrails were swiped sometime between Oct. 5 and 6. "I really couldn't believe it," Rupp said. Neither could a group of local volunteers. After hearing about the ramp's ...
  • Champ Clark Bridge closing forces County Market employees to take boat

    Champ Clark Bridge closing forces County Market employees to take boat

    Wednesday, October 22 2014 3:43 PM EDT2014-10-22 19:43:41 GMT
    LOUISIANA, Mo. -- Employees of the County Market in Louisiana, Mo., who live in Illinois had to come up with a different method of getting to work this week. The 86-year-old Champ Clark Bridge, which connects Pike...
    LOUISIANA, Mo. -- Employees of the County Market in Louisiana, Mo., who live in Illinois had to come up with a different method of getting to work this week. The 86-year-old Champ Clark Bridge, which connects Pike...
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Quincy Herald-Whig. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.