Mmm. You know it’s here by the fragrant smell of cypress or pine bark wafting from nature’s floor, or in this case, around your shrub beds. That’s right: it’s mulch season – the time of year when an innocent little piece of bark can turn homeowners into monsters or merrymakers.

First, let’s start with the obvious. Mulch has a multitude of good things going for it. It controls weeds. Reduces soil erosion. Adds beauty to one’s landscape. And improves soil through decomposition.

There’s no disputing that mulch offers a magnitude of mighty big benefits.

But let’s move on to The Day the Mulch Truck Arrives. Bags are neatly stacked throughout the neighborhood for next-day spreading. Merrymakers won’t admit it, but they are secretly counting the bags so they can remain … well, merry. No one wants to get shortchanged, not even by one little nugget.

Finally the moment everyone’s been waiting for: The Day the Mulch Is Spread. Holding cups of coffee, homeowners watch as skilled laborers begin the task of spreading bark evenly around beds. The grounds are already starting to look good, and by day’s end, the community will look marvelously mulchy.

And they do.

But come morning, mulch mania kicks in. Phones buzz with callers wanting to know when the rest of the mulch trucks will arrive to finish the job.

But there won’t be any more trucks. The mulch was ordered to budget and spread to specs. The board’s request was to top-dress the beds — to replenish, not replace, what was there.

If your community sends out an announcement saying new mulch will be put down, check with your landscape chair or property manager beforehand to confirm the scope of the project. After all, reputable landscape maintenance companies take great pride in pleasing their customers, especially after a day of back-breaking work. In this case, they just want to hear the words, “Thank you very mulch.”



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