There's nothing like warm spring weather to get the perennials up and blooming to let us know it's time to pick up a new batch of mulch to spruce up our gardens. Normally we try to wait until the annuals are planted but it's been such a weird spring (still had freeze warnings on Monday, May 10!!) that we decided to head to Lowe's a few weekends ago to pick up our favorite Scotts Nature Scapes Color Enhanced Mulch.
We have been using Scotts Nature Scapes "Sierra Red" mulch each spring and love the deep rust/red color that makes the gardens pop in front of our white fences and around the garden statues. We forego the brown color (looks too much like dirt) and the natural color (looks dirty before the summer is halfway done). Scotts advanced color guard keeps the sierra red looking like sierra red and is guaranteed for one year. It is made without the use of chemicals so it is safe around vegetables and fruit trees, if you are lucky enough to have them!
The main reason we use mulch is to keep the weeds from invading our gardens and mulch does this naturally without having to put down weed material underneath. Using mulch is also great for keeping the moisture in our garden, up to 30% more than not using it. Even factoring in the cost of the mulch we still come out further ahead in savings each year with our summer water bill.
Scotts Nature Scapes is an advanced color enhanced mulch which comes in 2-cubic foot bags. We get ours at Lowe's for $3.99 a bag which fit perfectly in the back of my SUV, two piles side by side. How much mulch is left in our garden from the previous year, and what we end up removing when we clean the gardens, will determine how many new bags we buy. We find ten to twelve bags of Scotts Nature Scapes works really well for our needed coverage.
Scotts mulch is very uniform in size, with no unsightly big chunks or ragged pieces of chewed up wood. We prefer to buy the bags over having yards of mulch delivered. When using the bags of mulch you just take them where you need them (no wheelbarrow needed to haul back and forth), and you can do as much or as little as you like at your leisure.
Use gardening gloves when putting down the mulch as the color does bleed a little if you handle it with bare hands. The directions call for putting down a three-inch layer of mulch to block any sunlight from getting to the weeds. Scotts comes with a no-quibble guarantee: if you're not completely happy with how the mulch works, just mail in your receipt and they will send you a refund check. If you need help they have a toll-free help line at 1-866-4Scotts or check their website at www.scotts.com.