Florida Yards &
FYN Principle #4 - Mulch
Using organic mulch in your landscape is one of the most important things you
can do for the following reasons:
Organic mulch helps to retain moisture in the
It moderates soil temperature extremes.
It helps to suppress weed growth.
It can inhibit some plant diseases.
It enhances soil quality as it decomposes, which
is sorely needed by our sandy, nutrient-deficient soils.
Use by-product or alternative mulches such as
pine bark or needles, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, or municipal mulch.
Pine mulch can help to lower soil pH.
Melaleuca is one of the best mulch materials
available because it floats less and is more termite-resistant than Cypress.
Also, it costs Florida taxpayers more than $2 million annually to control and
remove the invasive Melaleuca tree, so by purchasing Melaleuca mulch you are
aiding in its eradication. To find a distributor of Melaleuca mulch visit
Cypress mulch is not recommended because it is a
desirable native tree that is being harvested from our wetlands; also, Cypress
does not have superior resistance to insects or decay, as was once believed.
Inorganic mulch (stone, shell, etc.) should only
be used in areas where you do not want to conserve moisture, such as around the
foundation of your home, in pathways, etc. Inorganic mulches can raise the
temperature around your plants, reflect heat onto your plants and raise the
soilís pH, all of which make for unfavorable growing conditions.
Proper Mulching Techniques
Apply mulch to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.
Keep mulch at least three inches away from stems
and trunks to prevent rot.
Do not mulch over a plantís root ball when
Create self-mulching areas under trees where
leaves can stay after they fall.
Mulch out to the treeís drip line or beyond.
Periodically rake old mulch to break up any
matted layers and to refresh the appearance. Add mulch as necessary to keep the
depth at 2 to 3 inches.