We know that winter is still a ways away (we hope), but we are such big proponents of mulch at Mirage Landscaping we like to remind people often of its many positives and allow a good amount of time for people to organize their purchase before winter. Over our three generations of experience, we’ve witnessed the many benefits of mulch. It does what it’s supposed to do, and we recommend it for the vast majority of landscape designs we work on. We can understand why there may be some trepidation in applying mulch to your garden, as it does seem strange to put materials overtop of soil, but trust us on this. Mulch is an excellent way to protect your plants, save on water, and add visual appeal to your yard.
How mulch works
Calgary weather is unpredictable, to say the least. Mulch is your very best bet for defending your more delicate plants from the wild temperatures changes we experience, combined with lack of rain or far too much rain, plus the possibility of snow every single month of the year.
First and foremost, mulch acts as insulation. It is a protective barrier between your soil and the air, quite a bit like a blanket. It’s a temperature regulator, keeping the soil warm during the winter and cool in the summer. Extreme variations in temperature are not good for any plant. Even though they are very nice, our regular winter Chinooks can actually cause soil to warm up enough to heave, which exposes the upper roots of smaller plants to the freezing temperatures when the weather turns cold again, threatening their growth come spring.
Mulch also helps keep weeds down. It prevents weeds from coming up by depriving them of the light they need to thrive, and also stops new weeds from being brought in by the wind and other germinators. Basically, it’s like a shield from weed seeds.
You can also save on water with mulch. It provides shade for your soil, which keeps water from evaporating too quickly on sunny or windy days. As moisture sticks around for longer, you don’t have to water as much. And as water easily drips down through the mulch to your soil, it delivers moisture slowly and evenly, preventing run off and saving even more water.
Organic mulches like cedar chips and bark mulch also help provide organic matter and nutrients to the soil. As they slowly break down over time, they offer many important nutrients to your soil, greatly benefitting its overall quality. Mulch can be far more successful than just fertilizer in improving the health of your soil, and therefore the health of your garden.
More benefits of mulch is its ability to serve a decorative function by filling the visual gaps between your plantings. It provides colour and continuity and leaves things looking neat and clean.
What are the different types of mulch?
We at Mirage Landscaping like all kinds of mulches, and your choice depends on your personal preference for the look and feel of your garden.
As mentioned, the benefits of mulch can’t be overstated. Organic mulches such as wood chips slowly disintegrate over time and provide your garden with a constant source of valuable organic materials and nutrients. Their one downside is that they have to be replaced every so often, but they more than make up for it with their overall benefits.
Inorganic mulches such as rocks and gravel last much longer and do not have to be replaced as often, but they can escape from your garden beds and make it difficult for mowing and maintenance. If enough gets loose it can even wreak havoc on your grass. If you are considering a rock mulch, we recommend having a well-built border for your beds, or even a retaining wall to contain everything for the long term.
Don’t forget, too, that you can apply a kind of temporary mulch for the winter using grass clippings and leaves collected during your fall clean up. When applied in the right places these materials can help protect your plants for the winter and then be worked into your soil in the spring for extra nutrients. It is important, however, that your leaves and clipping not contain any pests or bugs, as they will burrow down and overwinter in your mulch to rise again even stronger when it warms up. If any of your shrubs, trees or plants are diseased, you’re better off to remove the debris entirely.
Southeast Calgary commercial and residential landscaping and snow removal services
Mirage Landscaping is a full-service, year-round, property maintenance company. We provide extensive lawn care maintenance, landscape construction services, and snow removal services to our commercial and residential clients.
We live and love to work in the southeast area of Calgary, including the communities of:
Auburn Bay, Chaparral, Chaparral Valley, Copperfield, Cranston, Douglasdale, Heritage Pointe, Lake Bonavista, Mahogany, McKenzie Lake, Mackenzie Towne, Maple Ridge, New Brighton, Odgen/Lynwood/Millican, Parkland, Riverbend, Sundance, Walden, and Willow Park.