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To Mulch or Not to Mulch? There is No Question!

mulchDon't forget the mulch when you're buying all of your spring time plants! Mulch is one of the easiest ways you can keep your trees and plants healthy and happy. Mulch is an excellent insulator, keeping roots cooler in summer, warmer in winter, plus it keeps weeds out and moisture in. Not to mention, it looks nice!

What Kind Should I Get?

Mulch is available in many forms. Here at The Garden Center, we carry shredded pine bark, cedar, cypress and hardwood. There are also red and black dyed mulches available. It's up to you! All mulches are great, regardless of color or type. Some folks like to use different kinds for different purposes. Some say cedar mulch helps repel pests. Some customers have told us they like to use mulch made out of pecan shells because it keeps the cats out of the garden beds. The shells have sharp edges, which are hard on their tender kitty feet!

How to Use it

Mulch volcano

Spread a layer in your garden beds after planting. A 1 or 2 inch layer is enough. For coarser mulch, you can put down up to 4 inches.  For individual trees and large shrubs, make a  nice little donut type ring around the base. For any planting, make sure to leave some breathing room around the base of your plant!

Putting too much mulch too close to the base can cause problems for your plants later. For instance, too much mulch around a tree trunk can trap moisture, allowing the possibility of rotting the trunk! Unfortunately we see mulch volcanoes pop up every year around shopping centers and neighborhoods.mulch

Don't wait until summer to use mulch, it's beneficial to replenish it year-round. Weeds have a hard time making their way through it. You'll be using less water because you'll have less evaporation. You're also adding some good organic material back to the soil once it starts to break down. To mulch or not to mulch? There is no question!


Mexican Flowering Plum

March Plant of the Month

flowering plum

There's nothing like blooms on fruit trees in early spring! Mexican Flowering Plum might not be the first tree you think of when planting a fruit tree, but don't overlook it. This native plum is a great ornamental/fruit/flowering tree.

Probably the most notable thing about these trees are their white blooms in early spring. They are fragrant and a good source of food for bees and other pollinators. Dark red/purple fruit appears soon after and ripens in the fall. The fruit is loved by birds, but you'll like it too. That is, if you like making jams or pies. The skin of these plums is very thick, so it's not as easy to eat fresh like other plums.

Mexican Flowering Plums are relatively small trees with a single trunk. Growing 15-30 feet tall and about 25 feet wide at maturity, it can fit into most yards. It's also considered slow growing, so it will take a while to use up the space. Their branches are thin and spreading and when mature, the blue-gray bark starts to peel and almost appears striped. Watch out, the branches are also a little bit thorny!

In summer, this tree will have olive green, thick, sand papery leaves. In fall you can expect a yellow to orange color before they drop. Mexican Plums are easy to grow and have very few pest or disease problems.

Plant in full sun to part shade. These can be used as an understory tree as well.  Mexican Flowering Plum can tolerate a variety of soils from acidic to alkaline, clay to well drained. Once established, these native trees are drought tolerant. Hurry in to The Garden Center and grab yours this spring, we only have a handful available!