I am still learning, and have some basic questions. When I fertilize plants in the spring that are already mulched (with mulch I put down in the fall), what is the basic technique? Do I rake the mulch aside, put down the fertilizer, and then spread it out again? Put it over the mulch?
I’m sort of confused about mulch in general–once you reapply it for more than a year or two, doesn’t it build up into an overly thick layer? Even if it breaks down into the soil somewhat, won’t it make the "level" of my beds too high? I have only lived in my house for a year, but the previous owners had a landscaper who apparently put mulch down every season. In the fall, in a bid to fight off pests/disease, I removed and replaced several layers of old mulch from beneath my roses (and found layers of everything from pine bark to dyed red cedar to cocoa hulls). The surface bed was about 5 inches lower! Am I supposed to remove mulch periodically, or just hope it breaks down?
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Welcome! I’m Margaret Roach, a leading garden writer for 25 years—at ‘Martha Stewart Living,’ ‘Newsday,’ and in three books. I host a public-radio podcast; I also lecture, plus hold tours at my 2.3-acre Hudson Valley (NY) Zone 5B garden, and always say no to chemicals and yes to great plants.