Mulch is organic or inorganic material used as a protective cover over soil to help conserve moisture, inhibit weed growth, maintain stable temperatures and enrich the soil. It can include pieces of wood, fallen leaves, flower blossoms, needles, twigs and other types of material. It can also harbor termites. Mulch can also be inorganic and made out of pebbles, gravel, plastic and other products that do not decompose.
Mulch helps to in soil and water conversation of gardens. It is also used to improve the organic matter in soil and control soil temperature. Many gardeners also used mulch as a decorative element around homes, near trails and driveways and on playgrounds.
Â Mulch reduces and prevents the growth of weeds by smothering the unwanted plants and preventing germination. It can also be used to protect roots of trees and other plants from the blades of lawn equipment.
While mulch provides many benefits to home gardens, it may also lead to infestations of termites. It is made from wood products especially chips are especially vulnerable to termites (see References 1 and 2). Termites have large underground colonies and the come to the surface to feed on wood. Colonies can contain as many as a million soldier and worker termites. They are tiny insects with antennae and wings that start out as larvae. They may travel several hundred feet in order to find food. If mulch is spread near buildings, termites may infest the wood foundations and cause structural damage.
Termites feed on anything that contains cellulose and nest in soil. If you notice termites in mulch close to your house, contact a lawn pest control professional for an inspection. Get estimates from several companies to make sure you pay a fair amount for the service. If necessary, have them apply the termite control treatment around your house.
Keep mulch at least a foot away from building foundations (see References 4). When applying, do not let it cover house sidings or window sills. Buy mulch from reliable sources like garden stores and city-run mulch centers to avoid introducing infested material into your lawn. Apply termite treatments around buildings available from garden stores.