Mulching is primarily done in the spring and fall seasons. We offer a variety of mulch colors and ideas to choose from.
Materials used as mulches vary and depend on a number of factors. Use takes into consideration availability, cost, appearance, the effect it has on the soil — including chemical reactions and pH, durability, combustibility, rate of decomposition, how clean it is — some can contain weed, seeds or plant pathogens.
Wood chipsare a byproduct of the pruning of trees by Arabist’s, utilities and parks; they are used to dispose of bulky waste. Tree branches and large stems are rather coarse after chipping and tend to be used as a mulch at least three inches thick. The chips are used to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature and suppress weed growth. The decay of freshly produced chips from recently living woody plants, consumes nitrate; this is often off set with a light application of a high-nitrate fertilizer. Wood chips are most often used under trees and shrubs. When used around soft stemmed plants, an un mulched zone is left around the plant stems to prevent stem rot or other possible diseases. They are often used to mulch trails, because they are readily produced with little additional cost outside of the normal disposal cost of tree maintenance.
Bark chips, of various grades are produced from the outer corky bark layer of timber trees. Sizes vary from thin shredded strands to large coarse blocks. The finer types are very attractive but have a large exposed surface area that leads to quicker decay. Layers two or three inches deep are usually used, bark is relativity inert and its decay does not demand soil nitrates.
A variety of materials are used as mulch:
- Organic residues: grass clippings, leaves, hay, straw, kitchen scraps comfrey, shredded bark, whole bark nuggets, sawdust, shells, woodchips, shredded newspaper, cardboard, wool, but also animal manure, etc. Many of these materials also act as a direct composting system, such as the mulched clippings of a mulching lawn mower, or other organics applied as sheet composting.
- Compost: This should be fully composted material to avoid possible phytotoxicity problems, and the weed seed must have been eliminated, otherwise the mulch will actually produce weed cover.
- Rubber mulch: made from recycled tire rubber.
- Plastic mulch: crops grow through slits or holes in thin plastic sheeting. This method is predominant in large-scale vegetable growing, with millions of acres cultivated under plastic mulch worldwide each year (disposal of plastic mulch is cited as an environmental problem).
- Rock and gravel can also be used as a mulch. In cooler climates the heat retained by rocks may extend the growing season.
We service all areas in Montgomery County, including the following: Potomac, Rockville, Darnestown, Comus, Germantown, Gaithersburg, Bethesda, Poolesville.