Learning More about Mulching

Mulching is the process of improving the soil around plants by using mulches, which are straw, wood chips, leaves and grass clippings, as well as giving your garden a neat, tidy appearance, and, at the same time, reduce the amount of time spent on watering and weeding. You can either use mulches on a bare soil or to cover the compost surface in flowering or plant containers.

Since plants need constant watering for proper growth, retaining the water can be attained by using the process of mulching, which uses mulches to absorb the water. With mulches covering the soil, these absorb water, coming from rainfall and irrigation, and slow down the evaporation of moisture from the soil. The advantage of improved water retention is that the need for frequent irrigation is reduced resulting into a longer spacing for watering the plants, which reduced water consumption. Slow erosion can also happen in mulching since it prevents the water from washing the soil out of the garden.

Mulch provides as an insulating layer for the soil, therefore allowing the temperature of the ground to change more slowly, and for this reason, mulch is usually applied in the spring or early summer. The fall and winter cold temperature allows the layer of mulch to retain the heat in the soil, such that the warm soil provides longer growth for the plants, as well as protecting the roots from the harsh winter temperatures.
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In mulching, the layer of mulch suppresses the growth of unwanted weed in the garden and plant beds, since the mulch prevents sunlight from reaching the germinating weeds from the soil to grow. If weed seeds grow on the top layer of the mulch, they can’t root deeply into the soil and so are unable to grow at all.
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Organic mulch, like wood chips or leaves, when they decomposed are good source of added soil nutrients, which result into more food for the plants and organisms existing in the plant area which is covered by mulch. The decomposed mulch has also given added space in the soil particles, such that the added spaces has provided a way for water, oxygen, and nutrients to reach the plant roots because the soil is not compact or hard.

While garden beds and borders can be entirely be covered with mulches, care must also be observed for low growing plants and against the stems of woody plants. The following procedure is the ideal way of applying mulches: first remove the weeds including the roots, moisten the soil, and apply the layer of mulch with a thickness between 5 cm and 7.5 cm.