I think the weeds are the main reason why my aunt and uncle started to use the mulch a while back. Tho we help them with yard work now, it was a bit harder for them to get down to the ground to do the weeding in recent years. The roses seem to look great even when they don't put the mulch down. They don't put it down every year.I have not been mulching mine, but I remember my mother putting sawdust chips around her roses. She said it kept the ground from drying out, and stopped weeds from coming up around the roses.
Mine are just growing in the grass, and seem to be doing just fine without any mulch, but I am going to start putting some of the grass clippings around some of the plants.
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