The dog days of summer are wreaking havoc on gardens across the county, but one local business owner says mulching can keep plants hydrated during these sweltering months.
Mulching has become a common practice among homeowners, said Guy Devore, owner of Ground Cover Supplies Inc. in Evans.
"It's very necessary," said Devore. "The mulch, especially in times of drought, is going to save you on your water bill. Mulch holds in more water than pine straw."
The University System of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service recommends topping off the spring mulch with another thin layer as the fall approaches. That's a practice that Devore said is suggested for flower beds and gardens alike.
"To begin with, mulch contains more moisture than pine straw," said Devore. "And it holds in more water than pine straw. You typically mulch in the spring with new growth and again in the fall or winter to protect roots."
Mulching in the middle of a heat wave can bring added relief to the roots of plants. The most popular mulch sold at Ground Cover Supplies is cypress mulch.
"It retains itself longer and holds up longer," he said, adding that the various colors of the cypress mulch are gained by treating it with an organic dye. "And it's cheaper than pine straw. You add 3 to 4 inches of mulch when you first apply it and then freshen it with an additional inch each year after that."
The old mulch acts as compost for the bed and can either be turned into the soil or simply topped with a fresh layer. However, homeowners should be careful not to over-mulch. Mulch that is too thick is not only wasteful, but can prevent water from soaking into the soil, particularly in light rains.
In addition to providing additional moisture for plants, mulch helps control soil erosion and prevents weeds and adds instant curb appeal.
Ground Cover Supplies has seen an increase in business in its three years in Evans.
"With the economic times we are facing today, a lot of homeowners are getting away from yard people and are doing it themselves," said Devore.
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