Mulching and edging your planting beds can feel like a punishment you have to endure in order to enjoy the pleasure of planting colorful annuals. As we approach Memorial Day next week, which is the traditional time for planting annuals in our area, some of us put off the planting to avoid the necessary prep work.
Over the winter, the crisp edges around planting beds tend to break down and fill in. Grass may even jump the groove you created last year and begin to fill in the beds. This should all be cleaned out and the edges re-cut to separate the bed from lawn or sidewalk. Then, using a flat blade shovel, a half-moon shaped edging tool or a power edger if you have access to one, cut a groove up to three inches deep all around the perimeter of the bed. Push the tool toward the bed so the cut is “V” shaped and smooth out the soil on the bed side so it forms a gentle slope. This is called a spade edge. If you want to install a more permanent edging material, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing it.
After planting your annuals, cover the entire bed with 2-3 inches of ground hardwood mulch. Be sure it doesn’t touch the plants. Ground hardwood mulch adds essential organic matter to the soil while conserving water and giving your planting beds a more finished look.
If I’ve convinced you of the wisdom of edging and mulching your planting beds, but not motivated you to do the job, we can help you out. Instead of having to lug big bags of mulch from the garden store or home center, we can deliver bulk mulch. Of course, you’ll still have to load it into wheelbarrows and haul it from your driveway to your planting beds. Or, you can call us and have one of our landscape crews handle the whole edging and mulching job for you. If you want us to plant your annuals for you, we can even do that. Welcome spring from your patio or porch while we do the work.