Muskegon is truely a summer city! We may be missing the Summer Celebration this year, but with Shivering Timbers at Michigan’s Adventure just around the corner, afternoons at PJ Hoffmaster, and Chase Hammond Golf Club being all georgeous and inviting all the time, I doubt we’ll be hard up for filling our calendars.

Of course, much vacation time (PTO yesssss) is spent in the summer (as it should be, have you seen the weather here the other eight months of the year?), and even with all this fun stuff to do, much time will still be spent at home, hopefully outdoors enjoying the lovely weather to it’s fullest.

We’re here to tell you how to do that. We want you to squeze every last dribbly ounce of enjoyment out of that yard of yours, with a maximum of chillaxing (I don’t know, I heard it on TV) and a minimum of needless hard work. You can thank us later.

Today’s lesson is on the magestic miracle of MULCH. Due to popular request, and the well-known fact that school is OUT and the summer is no time for lectures, we’ll forego the wordy speeches and overhead projectors and give you the dirt (get it? Ha!) in an easy bulleted list of reasons why you should mulch your yard now, and save yourself a whole wagonload of hassle later on.

  • It conserves water, which also conserves time. The porous nature of mulch actually retains water, and leaks out into the dirt as it s l o w l y dries. This is great for you because not only do you not have to waste a bunch of water (our planet’s number one most conservable resource) as it’s absorbed quickly into the ground and dries out, you don’t have to waddle out to your garden three times a day with a hose and sprinkler to make sure all your plants got the water that they need. Most people with properly mulched garden areas don’t need to water the area at all unless you go a particularly long time without rain.
  • When you lay mulch down around plants that you want to grow, plants that you don’t want growing won’t grow, you know? Not kidding, you will break your back weeding if you get lazy about the mulch. Either that, or end up with a whole bunch of unruly brambles where your cute little rhododendron used to hang out. Either way, save the backbreaking labor for the gym, at least you might end up with some of those 6-pack abs everyone loves so much.
  • Topsoil is expensive! Especially that muddy black fertilized stuff that plants just go crazy for. Yes, your leaves will be bigger, flowers brighter and perkier, and roots will grow deeper faster, but topsoil is like $15 per square yard and has to be replaced all the time unless you have mulch to protect it from running into the grass or down the sewer every time it rains.
  • It is beautiful, and smells awesome too. In industry terms, this is called asthetic value and matters bigtime when we’re talking about total backyard enjoyment. We sell mulch in all kinds of colors and textures from cedar red to dyed dark black. We especially like the large pine nuggets because they look downright festive in a cool vintage 1970’s kind of way. Would you rather flop into a hammock after being chained to a desk all day, pop the top off of an excellent Citra Pale from Grand Haven’s Odd Side Ales, and sniff a big old nose-full of compost, or fresh, woodsy mulch? Yep, we think so too.
  • When raw dirt gets wet, it dries quickly. When it dries quickly, it gets dusty and cracked. When it gets dusty and cracked, plant roots can’t get the water that they need, and the plant dries up too. And then it dies. Do you really want that kind of blood on your sleeve? Mulch retains water and distributes it slowly so not only do you not have to worry about sprinkler-ing your lawn all the time, your lush green paradise won’t look like the Bolivian salt flats after it rains either.
  • Mulch acts like insulation, regulating soil temperature no matter what time of year. Mulch keeps soil warmer in cold weather, and cooler in warm weather, preventing your precious little geroniums from being too chilly, and that high-maintinance Japanese Maple that your wife had-to-have-but-is-harder-to-babysit-than-a-chihuahua-with-a-fever nice and cool when the sun gets intense.
  • Speaking of temperature, chilly/warmy is one thing, but there are serious implications for bushes, shrubs, fruiting plants, and decorative landscaping trees if it’s warm during the day and freezes at night (like it does every spring!). Implications like FREEZING DAMAGE and FROST HEAVE can ruin a landscape job faster than a gopher with a chainsaw. Yes, I CAPSLOCKED them to make them look a little more dramatic, but both can really lay waste to all your hard work and landscaping, and mulch can protect shallow-rooted plants from these unspeakable horrors.