Homeowners have been debating the connection between mulch and termite infestations for a while now. One side insists that termites and mulch go together like peanut butter and jelly, while the other side is convinced it’s all an urban legend.
Unfortunately, while the story of someone unknowingly purchasing a bag of termite-infested mulch is a myth, the idea that mulch attracts termites is all too true.
It’s important to know the two things termites need to survive: a cool, damp place to live and as much delicious cellulose (an organic fiber found in wood) they can eat. If you’ve ever picked up a typical bag of mulch, you can understand the problem. A majority of store-bought mulch is filled with the cellulose termites love to eat, and one of the purposes of mulch is to keep soil cool and moist.
When you lay down mulch, you’re also at risk of inviting any nearby termites to a bug buffet.
That being said, you don’t have to go dig out all of your freshly-laid mulch in a panic. Statistically speaking, a majority of yards in the United States are home to termites. Wild termites have no real reason to attack your house. For one, they probably aren’t even aware of your house in the first place! Secondly, there is absolutely no shortage of cellulose in nature. In fact, it’s in practically everything, from leaves and roots to the grass that makes up your lawn. Since termites like to keep in cooler and damp environments, almost all their eating occurs completely underground and out of sight.
What mulch does do, however, is provide termites with a cool, moist path to your home. Because it’s such an ideal environment for them, it wouldn’t take long for a large colony of termites to discover a fresh foundation of mulch and decide to move in. If your mulch is laid close to your house, then you could be putting your foundation at risk.
The best way to prevent a problem is to keep mulch slightly away from the foundation of your home, especially if you have any exposed wood close to the ground. Also, frequently raking and replenishing your mulch will keep it dry, making termites less likely to want to make a home there. Being careful about where you mulch around your home, such as mulching only in spots that get plenty of sunlight, will protect against an in-home infestation.
If you suspect your home is experiencing a termite infestation, fill a small trap with some bait wood and half-bury it near the suspected problem area. If you unearth it in a few weeks’ time and see it filled with the pests, treat the baited wood with something that will kill them.
Quality Landscape Supplies in MD & VA
At Colony Supply Center, we offer only the highest-quality mulch and other landscape products we can find. We know the health of your yard and your home is important. If you have any questions about what type of mulch is right for your yard, or how best to lay down mulch, contact our landscape supply experts. We’re happy to help!
Summer is here, and that means flowers, sunshine, and plenty of time enjoying your yard. You know your garden and flower beds won’t be perfect without a lot of work: weeding, cleaning up the beds, and mulching. But when exactly should you mulch? Here are a few quick tips on the best (and worst) times to mulch:
When the weather is consistently warm.
Mulch is designed to slow soil’s warming and help with nutrient retention. If you add the mulch too early, before your soil has warmed on its own, you lose the warming benefit that mulch provides. If you add it too late, the mulch loses its chance to help retain nutrients that the soil already had. Early May is a pretty reliable sweet spot.
Once you’ve cleaned out those flower beds from obnoxious weeds, spread your mulch. If you put mulch down before weeding, it will just allow the weeds to grow more.
After a spring shower.
Again, because of the primary purpose of mulch (moisture retention), after rain is prime-time for mulching. If it has not rained for a while and the weather is staying warm, make sure you water the plants and soil before mulching so that there is moisture present.
>>Not sure how much mulch you need? Try our mulch calculator!>>
Before your perennials emerge.
If you haven’t seen your geraniums or lavender pop up yet, you’ll want to hold off on putting down mulch. Putting mulch down on your perennials before they have emerged will bury them!
Before stripping away existing mulch.
A huge amount of mulch won’t benefit your plants. Aim for around 3 inches so that your plants will have support, but still room to grow. You’ll want to get rid of some of the top layer of mulch from last year before putting down the new mulch to keep this depth consistent!
If you’ve gone through these suggestions and realized that now’s the perfect time for you to get mulching, contact the experts at Colony Supply Center today for all of your landscape supply and delivery needs!
Even though it’s taken a while to really show up, temperature-wise, spring is here and that means it’s time to get geared up for summer lawn maintenance. Before you set off for that first mow of the season, take some time to get your lawn care tools ready for the jobs they’ll need to do.
Here are 3 essential lawn care tools to check in the spring for a summer full of stress-free lawn care:
Your lawnmower is the workhorse of lawn care tools. It chews through that green blanket of lawn with ease, even when you’ve – ahem – let it get a little too long.
- Give it a quick tune-up: Remove the spark plug and replace it when finished with other maintenance. Clean your air filter if your mower has a foam-type filter, or replace it entirely if your filter is paper.
- Change the oil: Drain the old, dirty oil into a container for proper disposal, then refill it with fresh oil as recommended by your lawnmower’s manufacturer.
- Sharpen the blade: Having a dull mower blade can mean your lawn gets shredded instead of cut, causing it to turn brown. Carefully remove the blade from the lawnmower before sharpening, or take it to a shop that offers blade sharpening.
- Give it a scrub: Bust out your hose and, if necessary, a putty knife to remove any caked-on grass clippings and dirt. A clean mower will last longer, meaning you are more likely to have a summer full of smooth lawn mowing if you regularly clean your mower.
- Gas it up and give it a start: The best way to make sure your mower is working is to gas it up according to manufacturer instructions and start it up. If you notice a problem with the way it starts or runs, get it in for maintenance sooner rather than later to avoid delaying the start of mowing season.
The next-most-used tool in your garage is your string trimmer. These machines are notorious for getting clogged easily, so some preventative maintenance in spring can decrease frustration this summer.
- Change the filter and spark plugs: Like with your lawnmower, gas-powered string trimmers have spark plugs and air filters that need regular replacement.
- Change the oil: Drain the old oil for proper disposal and replace with manufacturer-recommended clean oil.
- Replace the string: A key component to easy trimming is to make sure you have a good, strong string. With use, the string weakens and doesn’t cut as effectively. Replacing the string each spring is the best way to ensure easy trimming all summer long.
- Give it a scrub: Hose off any caked-on mud or grass, especially under the hood covering the string. Too much leftover grass can cause your string trimmer to clog and stutter.
- Gas it up: Fill your string trimmer’s tank with gas and oil in the correct proportions as recommended by your manufacturer. Store upright or hung on a wall to prevent leakage.
For many, a chainsaw is the least-used lawn-care instrument on this list. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need a little TLC in spring in case it needs to be used after a summer storm.
- Change the oil: Drain out the old oil for disposal and replace it with fresh oil per your manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Sharpen the blades: Sharp teeth on your chainsaw’s blade are the key to a clean, easy cut. If necessary, get the blade professionally sharpened.
- Check the chain: A bad chain can spell trouble for safety when using your chainsaw. Make sure the chain is in good repair and replace if you have to.
- Give it some gas: Fill the tank with recommended gas and start up your chainsaw. If it stalls or has problems starting, find a qualified person to check it out and make any necessary repairs.
Skilled Small Engine Repair in Central Maryland
Keep all your summer lawn tools, snowblowers, generators, and other small engines in tip-top shape with small engine repair services from Colony Supply Center. We do offer pickup and delivery of your equipment in certain situations. Contact us today to schedule your small engine service.