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April 11, 2014

ANDERSON: ’Tis the season for mulch

FLOYD COUNTY — The time has come that everyone is itching to get outside because the long cold winter has kept all of us homebound. Now that the sun is out and the temperatures are increasing everyone is getting outside to start the process of refreshing their landscape for the new growing season. This means that we are cleaning up plant debris, planting new plants, and laying down a fresh layer of mulch.

Before putting that nice new two to four inch layer of mulch down, it is important to make sure that all of the plant debris laying on the ground is cleaned up. If it isn’t, and mulch is laid over the top of this debris, then diseases could be harbored in that debris and the heat form the mulch could cause disease to spread to your healthy plants.

As you start to lay the mulch down, remember to start at the back of the landscape bed and work your way to the front. By doing this you will not step on your newly laid mulch and it will stay nice and fluffy for a while — at least until the dog decides to run through it. It is also a good idea to not lay the mulch right up to the foundation of your house, as this may encourage insects to come into your home. By keeping the mulch pulled away from the foundation by half an inch to an inch, this will create enough of a gap that insects shouldn’t come visit you inside.

Laying mulch around trees, shrubs, and other plants, can be a tedious task, it is important to not pile mulch up around the base of the plants. Plants need to have air circulation around the base and adding a mound of mulch around the base (volcano mulching) is not a good idea. Also, if mulch gets on any plant leaves, it is a good idea to brush it off right away, as it could burn the leaves. By following these steps, you will have a nicely mulched landscape bed that you can enjoy all summer.

— For additional information about agriculture and landscaping/mulch, please contact Gina Anderson, ANR/ECD Extension Educator at the Floyd County Extension Office, 812-948-5470, or email Gina at gmanders@purdue.edu.

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