Mulch and Herbicides: A Match Made in Heaven

Ask any avid gardener what their preferred landscaping material is, and most will say mulch. Mulch is a layer of material, usually organic, that is applied to soil to control weeds. Organic mulch includes everything from chopped leaves, grass clipping, compost, pine needles, and even paper. For aesthetic purposes, many gardeners use wood chips or shredded bark to give flower beds a polished look. This type of mulch comes in multiple colors and sizes to complement your landscape design. Aside from looking great, mulch also conserves soil moisture, protects your plants’ root systems, and nourishes the soil itself as it breaks down. But the prime reason to use two to three inches of mulch is to keep weeds from taking over your freshly planted and maintained beds. That’s where a herbicide can add some punch.

Spray Before Laying Mulch

Whether you use fresh wood chips, shredded hardwood, pine straw, grass clippings or chopped leaves, spraying an herbicide before you layer is a win-win. When replanting a new flower bed or garden plot, use a total weed control like RM18 or Compare-N-Save Quick Acting Weed & Grass Killer to eliminate unwanted grasses and weeds before applying a fresh layer of mulch. These products kill more than 100 different types of plants of weeds and because they become inert once it touches the soil, beds can be replanted in as little as one day (wait three days before planting vegetables, herbs and fruits). Since RM18 and Compare-N-Save Quick Acting Weed & Grass Killer won’t spread through underground root systems, established plants remain safe. Keep in mind, these products are non-selective herbicides, meaning they’ll work on any plant they come in contact with, so don’t spray on a windy day. Use a barrier between the plant you wish to keep and the spray stream; cardboard and plastic shields work well. 

If you are establishing a new landscape bed, consider using a preemergence herbicide, like Compare-N-Save Crabgrass & Sandbur Preventer. This product prevents the growth of annual grasses and many broadleaf weeds including crabgrass and sandburs. So if used correctly, grasses and broadleaf weeds never get the opportunity to grow and take over your ornamental plants. Keep in mind that it won’t affect those weeds that are already actively growing. Compare-N-Save Crabgrass & Sandbur Preventer needs to be activated with at least a half-inch of water to make it effective. See the complete label for directions on how to mix and apply.

Keep Pests At Bay

While mulch is awesome at controlling weeds, it also makes a cozy living environment for many insects. Extend the life of your mulch by laying down a layer of Compare-N-Save Insect Control Granules prior to your mulch layer, and protect your plants from insect and disease damage by making sure mulch is kept two to three inches away from stems and trunks.

Once your mulch is down, consider applying Compare-N-Save Indoor/Outdoor Insect Control. It controls fleas, ticks, spiders, and wasps along with armyworms, centipedes, fire ants, grasshoppers, mites and mole crickets. It can be applied directly to the plants in your ornamental gardens like trees, shrubs, foliage plants, non-bearing fruit, and nut trees and flowers. Spray this product using a pressure sprayer on foliage, tree trunks, stems, and twigs. It should NOT be applied directly to vegetables or fruit plants. 

Ragan & Massey’s products will help keep your yard looking great all year long. Questions? Ask us!