How to Control Weeds Naturally with Mulch
Used correctly, mulch keeps weeds from getting the light and warmth they need to survive.
Control Weeds Naturally
Weeds are a nuisance, ugly, and can even be invasive. They steal water and nutrients from the plants you love. If you pull them out, they often grow right back. They hog the sun, and act like garden bullies. Even so, you can't bring yourself to spray them into oblivion with week killers. So, how do you naturally help keep them out of your garden? Simple. With mulch.
How to Use Mulch to Keep Weeds out
Weeds need light and warm soil to survive. To use mulch as a natural weed barrier, you need to put down a 2- to 3-inch layer. That's enough to keep most weed seeds from sprouting. Because you block their access to sunlight, they won't have enough energy to push through the mulch.
What Kind of Mulch to Use
Different mulches have different uses. Pebbles and small stones can be considered mulch, but don't break down and amend the soil. Straw is often used in vegetable gardens, but it tends to contain many weed seeds. Grass clippings are also popular, but they lack aesthetic appeal. Your best bet is bark mulch, such as Scotts® Nature Scapes® Color Enhanced Mulch or Scotts® Nature Scapes® Triple Shred Mulch. It gives your garden a clean, finished look while holding down weeds. Also, since it's a natural product, it amends your soil as it breaks down over time.
Mulching around your Garden
If you have a bed of perennials, wait until the flowers push through, then lay down a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch all around them. When planting annual flowers, plant them first and then mulch the surrounding area. If you're mulching around trees, shrubs or roses, avoid piling the mulch against the bases of the trunks and stems. Because Scotts® Nature Scapes® Mulches are a natural wood product that breaks down over time, you will need to replenish the mulch annually to maintain a 2- to 3-inch layer.
Reinvigorate Old Mulch
Over time, mulch starts to lose its color as it breaks down. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to refresh it. Spray your existing mulch with Scotts® Mulch Color Renewal following the directions on the label. It's safe for use around people, pets, and plants (when used as directed), but to prevent staining, avoid driveways, patios, and other hard surfaces. It's a great way to make your beds look freshly mulched – without all the work.