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Nature’s Mulch

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Friday, December 28, 2018 - 5:00am

It’s December and many gardeners are looking forward to taking a little time off from the landscape and related chores. There is one landscape activity that has no time deadline and with the cooler weather it’s a good time to apply a layer of mulch. And when you think a little about it, this is the time of year that Mother Nature mulches her garden. 

I’m always in awe of the job that Mother Nature does mulching the landscape. While these materials may not be as effective as our traditional mulching products, they sure do look good. 

If you fortunate enough to have planted camellias in your landscape you get a double treat. The flowers of course are the main show from late fall to early spring. But if you’re patient, and lucky, you get another colorful treat. As the flower petals fall they will create a very vibrant mulch from pure white to rosy pinks and bright reds, depending on the variety. 

Another example of Mother Nature’s mulching can be found under bald cypress trees. The plantings we have at the Coastal Research and Extension Center in Biloxi are outstanding. The summer foliage is a light green color that changes to a golden to rusty brown before falling off in the winter and creating a finely textured, feathery layer of mulch. As much as I like this tree I won’t promote it for the normal home landscape; it just will get too big. And those “knees” will pop up everywhere and create maintenance issues. 

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