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How to Control Weeds Naturally with Mulch

Used correctly, mulch keeps weeds from getting the light and warmth they need to survive.

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.

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.

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 asScotts® Nature Scapes® Color Enhanced Mulch orScotts® 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.