Free mulch year round
By Robin Scott
The City of Dalhart provides free mulch year around to Dalhart residents. The mulch is made by the city when trees are cut or trimmed, or other organic material collected. There are no restrictions on picking up the mulch. Residents may help themselves, as the site is open all of the time and throughout the year.
Mulch is generally made up of organic materials such as tree bark, wood chips, grass clippings, shredded leaves or recycled wood. The mulch is spread on the ground in a somewhat thin layer to protect the soil and roots of plants from the effects of soil crusting, erosion, or freezing. Mulch is also helpful in slowing down the growth of weeds. Mulch retards evaporation of moisture and helps to regulate soil temperature. Mulch also provides needed organic matter and organisms to help build soil structure, which is especially important in areas of newly built structures where the soil may have been drastically disturbed.
Enough mulch should be placed around a plant’s root zone to protect it from lawn equipment and trimmers. Mulch should be spread out, and not made into piles or “volcanoes.” Creating a pile around a plant may lead to root decay or pest infestation. Spreading the mulch out evenly between three to six inches is ideal and provides the correct amount of insulation without suffocating the tree, shrub or plant.
An area of approximately six inches should be left free of the mulch around the base of the bark of tree trunks. Mulch placed directly next to the tree bark can interfere with the vascular tissue located just beneath the bark. Too much mulch around plants is detrimental as well, so the same rules apply to plants as to trees and shrubs. Placing too much mulch may keep too much moisture in and breed many other problems.
When to mulch depends upon the desired effect from insulating the area around a tree, shrub or plant. It is helpful in winter to add warmth and can be done before the coldest winter weather arrives. In summer it is helpful to keep the ground cool and should be done once the grounds warm up after the winter freezes are over.
The City of Dalhart has many projects in place for recycling. Providing residents with mulch is one such project. Assistant City Manager James Stroud noted, “The city recycles trimmings 100 percent for use as mulch and it’s available year around. People can help themselves. The mulch is located next to the entrance of the city garage and is available even on weekends, as it isn’t in a locked area. We encourage people to come get what they need.”
Recently, volunteers assisting with landscaping at the Bosell home used some of the city’s free mulch. All that was needed were a truck to load it in, and some willing helpers to spread it out. For more information about picking up mulch from the city contact the city offices at 244.5511.