General Contractors and All They Do

A Guide To Using Mulch In The Landscaping Business

Mulch is a versatile landscaping material that doesn't often get much attention. These days, it's available in a wide variety of colors, which allows you to perfectly accent clients' plants by selecting mulch of a contrasting color. It also serves the very useful purpose of preventing weeds from growing, which keeps a yard looking well-manicured with minimal maintenance work. Below, you'll find a guide on how to make the most of mulch as part of your landscaping business.

1. Finding a Source for Mulch

First, you need to make sure you're sourcing your mulch from the right place. You should only buy mulch from a nursery or another store that specializes in landscaping supplies.

There are several ways to obtain free mulch. For example, public works departments and utility companies often give it away for free when they're cutting trees down in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, you have no idea about the health of the trees that were used to make that mulch. The mulch may be carrying pests, diseases or fungus that can end up in your clients' yards. It's safer to source all of your mulch from a reputable company.

2. Selecting Mulch

For general landscaping use, dyed wood chips are the all-around best choice. They're available in numerous colors, which gives your clients considerable choice in what their landscaping looks like. Additionally, the vegetable dyes used to color them are safe for plants.

Dyed mulch can retain its color for up to two years, although it depends heavily on how much rain and ultraviolet light it's exposed to. This will keep your clients happy with the way that your landscaping work looks for quite a long time.

3. Placing Mulch

When you're placing mulch, it needs to be kept at least one inch away from the stems of any bushes or flowers and at least six inches away from the trunk of a tree. Mulch absorbs quite a bit of moisture from rainfall and from the air, so it can't be left right against plant stems or tree trunks — it causes them to rot.

You also need to make sure that your clients are aware of this fact, so they don't erroneously push all of the mulch against their plants on their own.

When you're spreading mulch, it needs to be about four inches deep. Mulch blocks sunlight, which prevents weed growth. However, if the mulch layer becomes much deeper than that, it'll catch the majority of rainwater and absorb it. None will be left for the soil, which will end up with your clients' plants slowly withering away.

4. Mulch Maintenance

Mulch is fairly low maintenance. Whether you're maintaining a clients' landscaping or they are, there's not much you have to do in order to keep it looking great. The only thing it needs is to be raked once a season. This redistributes the mulch and ensures that the mulch on the bottom isn't rotting away.

Since mulch slowly decomposes, you'll eventually need to add more. If you're using dyed mulch, you'll likely need to add more mulch around the time that the color starts fading. Simply add enough dyed mulch to the top of the pile to bring the depth back to four inches. Your clients will have their vibrantly colored mulch back again and it will continue to do its job of smothering out weeds.

Using mulch properly results in beautiful landscaping work that your clients will love. Remember to work with a landscaping materials supplier that ensures their mulch is free from weed seeds, pests and disease — that way you'll get reliable results every time.