Mulch around the perimeter of a house
Properly used mulch should not pose much risk at all; most
problems occur when too much mulch is piled against the
foundation. This is not healthy for the plants growing in those
mulch beds, either. The benefits of mulch are so great that you
do not want to forgo mulching; you just need to use mulch
Dyed mulch has gained favor in
recent years since it
its color longer
Two or three inches of mulch is sufficient to maintain soil
moisture (for the plants), moderate soil temperature and help
keep weeds down. Organic mulches such as wood chips and grass
clippings break down and add organic and nutrients to the soil,
contributing directly to plant health and vitality. Mulch
reduces erosion and runoff by protecting the soil surface. It
also reduces soil compaction, which allows rainwater to
infiltrate the soil easily, further reducing runoff.
Mulch becomes a problem when we use too much of it
because the underlying soil never gets a chance to dry out,
which increases its attractiveness to insects looking for a
place to call home. Homeowners who add a few inches of fresh
mulch every year so that it looks nice can easily wind up with
excessively thick layers of mulch around their plants and near
their houses. Rake out existing mulch in the spring and only add
fresh mulch where there is less than 2 inches. Never allow mulch
to touch building foundations.
Clippings for Mulch?
Grass clippings can be used as a mulch after they have been
composted. Fresh grass clippings tend to ferment, releasing
heat and ammonia that can damage nearby plants. Fresh grass
clippings are high in nitrogen ("green" in composting parlance).
It is best to mix them with shredded leaves or straw, materials
that are low in nitrogen and higher in carbon ("brown" in
composting parlance). Compost happens most efficiently with a
brown-to-green ratio of 30:1
You may be able to approximate a good mix of leaves and grass
clippings by using a bagging lawnmower for fall leaf cleanup.
Allow the leaves and grass clippings to compost over the winter.
Turning the pile every few weeks and making sure it is
adequately moist (think wrung-out sponge) will speed
decomposition. Compost will still happen if you do not actively
work at it, but it will take longer.
! Caution !
Avoid using herbicide-treated clippings for mulch -- they
may contain herbicide residues that can damage desirable plants.
Norway Spruce damaged
from being mulched with grass clippings containing the lawn
herbicide 2,4-D. The 'twisting' new growth was the revealing