Commercial property landscaping companies control aggressive weeds with mulch, and weeds requiring light hand pulling or spraying. Organic mulches provide reduced weed deterrent properties saving water and money.
Mulch Provides Benefits at Different Levels
Applying mulch to your garden and landscape can provide a number of benefits, including reduced erosion and water loss, improved soil nutrition and a more balanced soil temperature. Different kinds of mulch provide these benefits at different levels. The river rocks and other small stones often used to prevent weed growth in landscapes are attractive, can help conserve water and require little maintenance, but they don't nourish or insulate the soil in the same ways as conventional organic mulch.
Cost Factor and Longevity
River rock is considerably more expensive than commercial landscaping mulch such as shredded bark, wood chips or compost. At about three to six times the cost of organic mulches, such as cypress, pine bark or eucalyptus, it is considerably more expensive when you buy it. But because river rocks don't decompose they may never need to be replaced. This makes river rock potentially less expensive than organic mulch in permanent installations over long periods of time. It works best around long-lived trees and shrubs but is a poor choice for gardens with annual plants.
Mulches made from bark, wood or other organic materials slowly decay into the soil over time, providing a renewable source of nutrients for trees and other plants. River rocks do not provide any additional nutrition. Plants grown under river rock or other inorganic mulch materials may need supplemental feeding.
Most organic mulches must be completely removed and replaced every few years. Some decompose directly into the soil, requiring only replacement. River rock and similar inorganic mulches do not need to be replaced, but they may require periodic washing or the addition of a new upper layer of stones. This type of mulch is heavy and can be difficult to move or adjust after it is put into place.
Mulch for Water Conservation
Some commercial landscaping services are using natural rock mulch, and can be used to decrease water loss in areas where conservation is a significant concern, but they perform poorly when compared to most organic materials. In a study performed by the University of California, small stones held only 0.09 inches of water per 1 foot of mulch, compared to between 1 and 3.64 inches per 1 foot for bark, compost, yard waste and other organic materials. Water loss from soil below rocks is relatively slow, which makes this material a better choice than bare soil.
Mulch Reduces Evaporation
One of the best methods of growing healthy plants and conserving water is to use mulch in the landscape. Mulch is a protective ground covering that saves water, reduces evaporation, prevents erosion, controls
Weeds, and in the case of organic mulches, enriches the soil. Mulches can be classified as organic or inorganic.
Mulch Promotes Better Root Growth
Mulching reduces soil moisture loss through evaporation. Mulch also reduces the soil’s exposure to wind which also reduces water loss through evaporation. The insulating quality of mulch helps to keep the soil cooler
in the summer and warmer in the winter. By maintaining more even soil moisture and temperature, mulch promotes better root growth and plant health. Mulch also helps to reduce rain splash and runoff, which can
help to prevent erosion is steep areas.
Mulch Improves your Soil
Mulch also suppresses the growth of many weeds. A 3- to 4-inch layer of organic mulch should be sufficient to prevent sunlight from reaching the soil, thereby reducing the chance of weed growth. Any weed seedlings that do manage to germinate and break through the layer of mulch are easily pulled. A mix of coarse and fine mulch will help reduce seed germination. Since some mulch decomposes over time, it will need to be replenished or replaced periodically. There is no need to remove the old and replace with new mulch, since soil organisms will work the decomposing organic matter into the soil, increasing the health of the soil.
When combined with landscape fabric, river rocks offer effective weed control without a reduction in air and water movement. This kind of mulch can still be penetrated by aggressive weeds, requiring occasional hand weeding. Organic mulches provide reduced weed deterrent properties unless you choose a material such as eucalyptus, which retards the growth of young plants.
Many types of mulch pose a fire hazard, especially in areas where wildfires are a major concern. Fire can spread quickly through organic or rubber mulches, moving to nearby structures. River rocks, sand, crushed gravel and similar materials are fireproof. The University of California recommends avoiding organic mulch within five feet of homes in wildfire-prone regions. Replace these materials with pavers, rocks or brick chips.
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Smart Watering Solutions for Commercial Property Landscaping
FloraTerra provides landscaping for commercial properties in and around the San Jose Bay Area, we design, install and maintain apartment and hoa landscaping , providing a complete range of landscaping and water management services. Some of our landscaping services include drought resistant landscaping and design, commercial landscape maintenance and irrigation systems repair. We serve a variety of markets including: Landscaping for Home Owners Associations, Commercial Property Managers, Retail Shopping Centers & Malls, Industrial R&D, Condominium Complex Landscaping, Public & Municipal Property and Multi-Residential Communities.
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