Mulching your garden and around various plants can have a lot of benefits. It helps to regulate soil moisture, it prevents erosion and mulch can also contribute to the health of the soil. While mulch can be beneficial, it does need some maintenance. You can’t apply mulch to a garden or around shrubs and think that that is the end of it.
With various wood and bark mulches, one of the key benefits is that the mulch decomposes into the soil, and this adds nutrients. This is good for the plants, but it means that you will eventually need to replace your mulch.
Mulch needs to be replaced after a while because it will decompose. If you fail to replace the mulch, it will no longer provide nutrients to the soil. Along with that, as it decomposes it loses its consistency, and eventually, it will not be able to perform many of the other functions that you expect from mulch. Once the mulch degrades to a certain level, you’ll also find that the moisture retention of the soil goes down, and you will also start to see more problems with weeds and erosion.
When it comes to how frequently mulch needs to be replaced, it depends on a few factors. Different mulch materials degrade a different rate, so one of the key factors will be the type of mulch that you use. Along with the type of mulch that you have, the frequency with which mulch needs to be replaced will depend on the soil conditions on the property and the effects of weathering on the mulch.
At most, you will need to replace your mulch once a year. If you want to know when to replace your mulch, the best thing you can do is to check the mulch at the beginning of spring and observe the condition. If it still looks much like it did when you laid it down, then it is probably good for another year. If you look at the mulch and see that it has degraded down to much smaller pieces, then it is probably time for replacement.
For the most part, you will not need to remove the old mulch. All you want to do is use a rake to even out the existing mulch and then add new mulch on top. The old mulch can still add nutrients to the soil, so you can save yourself the time and effort that would go into removing and disposing of the old mulch.
When mulch is properly maintained, it can do a lot for the plants on your property. If you are using mulch on an area of the yard that does not have plants, you could consider something like rock mulch as an alternative. Rock mulch will look good around hardscape elements on the property, and you won’t need worry about replacing it.