Mulch is any material that is spread or laid over the surface of the soil as a covering. There are 2 types of Mulch: Organic & Inorganic.
Organic Mulch: Any type of mulch that was once alive (i.e. bark, wood chips, saw dust)
Inorganic Mulch: Non-natural or Man-made mulch (i.e. rocks, stones, rubber, plastic)
Late Winter to early Spring is said to be the best time to mulch in most cases, the exceptions are the following: If you have Perennials (plants that live for 3 or more growing seasons, typically Spring), poor soil, or extremely cold Winters,
then late Fall to early Winter should be considered. keep in mind that mulching too early in the spring can slow the thawing of the soil after winter.
Mulch has many benefits, some of which are: helps to conserve and maintain soil moisture, helps to protect the soil from over-night freezes, heat damage, and equipment, helps to suppress competing vegetation such as: weeds & Grass, enhances landscape and garden appearance, and makes garden and landscape maintenance easier.
Prior to mulching there are a few beneficial steps to take.
1. Clean the desired area of weeds and debris, and apply a safe pre-emergent to help the reduction of new weed growth. (optional)
2. Put in some type of edge, wether it be
a natural edge or a border, to keep the mulch in the desired area.
3. Apply the mulch evenly throughout the desired area at a depth of no more then 2-4 in.