Can You Lay Mulch After Rain?

Can you lay mulch after rain? The quick answer is yes, doing so can be highly beneficial. In this post, Hernandez Complete Tree Service, your trusted mulching experts in Bryans Road, MD, answers this question in more detail. 

What Is Mulching? 

Mulching means laying organic matter down to retain moisture in the soil, keep the ground cool, and stifle weeds. When the matter decomposes, it enriches the soil, making laying mulch a worthwhile task at any time of the year. 

Why Mulch After Heavy Rain? 

There are many reasons to mulch at this stage: 

  • Water drains away quickly after rain, and the water the soil holds onto will evaporate as well. Mulching prevents evaporation, allowing the surface water to trickle down to the roots. 
  • The rain causes weed seeds to germinate, but the thick mulch prevents the young sprouts from finding the sun and stifles them. 
  • The organic matter regulates the soil temperature by protecting it from harsh sunlight. 
  • Mulch prevents soil erosion in the future as it absorbs the impact of the rain.
  • You will not need to water as often because the soil remains moist, which is particularly beneficial for those wondering how much water their trees need.

How to Mulch After Heavy Rain

Now that you know the answer to, “Can you lay mulch after rain?” is, “Yes,” here’s what to do next: 

  • When it stops raining, give the water a chance to drain for a little. 
  • Weed the surface and clear it of any rocks or debris.
  • You’ll need two to three inches of mulch, so work out how many bags to buy to cover the space. 
  • Decide on the best type of organic matter for the plants you have. You can use compost, straw, bark, wood chips, gravel, or pebbles. 
  • Distribute the matter evenly over the surface, leaving a space of 2 inches around plant stems. Increase this to about a foot around tree trunks. 
  • Make sure the layer is even and water it so it settles. Wet mulch is heavier and so won’t blow away. 

Should You Replace the Mulch Annually? 

You don’t need to worry about replacing the mulch, as it decomposes slowly. If you use something like straw that breaks down quickly, dig it into the bed when the growing season is over. You can then apply new matter when you plant new seedlings. 

When Is the Best Time to Lay Mulch? 

It’s best to put the mulch down after heavy rain. This ensures that the ground gets the full benefit of the water. Putting it down before can be counterproductive, as the mulch will absorb much of the water and begin to clump. 

If you’ve ever tried to move wet bark mulch, you’ll know it’s very heavy and unwieldy. 

Does the Mulch Compete With the Plants for Water? 

The mulch does absorb rainwater but, as it is dead matter, it cannot utilize it. Therefore, the mulch releases the moisture into the soil slowly. However, it’s important not to make your layer more than two or three inches thick, as that can prevent water from penetrating the soil. 

Why Not Lay the Mulch up Against Plant Stems? 

There are two reasons to avoid placing mulch too close to plant stems. The first is that the moist environment may make your plants more susceptible to fungal diseases if the matter is touching the plants. The second is that the mulch produces heat as it decomposes, and so may burn your delicate seedlings. 

Contact Our Team for More Advice 

Now that you can answer, “Can you lay mulch after rain?” do you have other questions? Need advice on things like mushrooms growing in mulch or other landscaping matters? Contact Hernandez Complete Tree Service at (240) 299-4639 to schedule a professional consultation in Bryans Road, MD.