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!