Mulching is a very important way to maintain healthy and thriving plants. Mulch is commonly any material applied to the surface of your topsoil for improvement or protection. Mulch is actually a naturally occurring method. Mulch is produced in nature in vast quantities all the time with pieces of bark, fallen leaves, twigs, grass clippings, pine needles, fallen fruit and even withered flowers and blossoms.
Mulching reduces the stress of trees and plants by providing it with a stable root environment that retains more moisture and remains cooler than the surrounding topsoil and sub soil. By slowly decomposing, mulch is a great source of nutrients and improves soil structure.
Mulching also maintains a more even soil temperature between seasons such as summer and winter. By controlling your soils climate, your soil will product more healthy and fuller plant life. Mulching also prevents soil splashing, which not only stops erosion but keeps soil borne diseases from splashing on your plants.
Key Benefits of Mulching
- Retains Moisture
- Reduces disease
- Reduces Weeds & controls grass
- Prevents soil from being compacted
- Protects plants and trees from lawnmowers and weed-eaters
- Keeps soil cool in the summer
- Keeps soil warm in the winter
There are essentially two kinds of mulch; organic and inorganic. Organic mulch and inorganic mulch both may have a place in the garden.
Organic mulch is made up of naturally occurring substances such as pieces of bark, fallen leaves, twigs, grass clippings, pine needles, fallen fruit, vegetation and even withered flowers and blossoms. Organic mulch attracts insects and slugs along with the birds and animals that eat them. Organic mulch also decomposes over time and should be replaces every several years.
Inorganic mulches such as pebbles, gravel, black plastic, rubber, and landscaping fabrics doesn’t attract pests and they do not decompose so you don’t have to replace it as often.
Simple Mulching Technique
For mulching to be most effective, mulch should be at least three inches deep and extend as far as possible from your plants and trees.Thickness of the layer of mulch is very important. If your mulch exceeds 5 inches thick it could result in gas exchange between air and soil.