What is a mulch?
Mulch is a landscaping material that is spread or laid over the surface of the soil to cover it. Its main purpose is to keep the moisture in the soil, prevent the weeds from growing and keep the soil cool; plus an added bonus to keep the garden look pretty. Organic mulches, because they decompose, helps in keeping the soil fertile and saves you from buying fertilizers that can be very expensive.
Type of Mulch
There are two types of mulches:
Examples of organic mulches are compost, newspaper, composted manure, chipped or shredded bark, shredded leaves and grass clippings, or straw.
Organic mulches decompose through time and needs to be replaced when it does. This type of mulch will help in improving the soil by adding to its organic content. Keep in mind that the drier and the woodier the mulch, the longer decomposition time and the nutrients it provides the soil will be lesser.
Examples of synthetic mulch are landscape fabrics, stones, gravels, and black plastic. They are good for holding moisture in and blocking weeds. The only drawback with inorganic mulches is that they do not provide any nutrients to the soil plus, they don’t require any replacement any time soon.
Benefits of using a mulch
Overall, mulch is very helpful in keeping your garden healthy as well as pretty. Mulch act as a blanket to the soil that protects it from the drying effects of the sun and wind plus it also keeps the soil cool even in hot weather. The cooling of the soil is kept if the moisture stays longer and there is not much need to keep watering the garden bed. However, if it is in the winter time, mulch keeps the soil warmer – it acts as a stabilizer to the soil’s temperature – whether cold or hot.
Mulch also serves as a weed killer as it prevents the light to sip through and reach these growing weeds. The deeper or thicker the mulch, the better it is in preventing the weeds to grow any further.
Especially when it comes to organic mulch, it also helps fertilize the soil and it serves as food for worms and other soil organisms – therefore, helping the soil in providing more nutrients especially in the top layers of the soil.
How to Use Mulch
- Apply at least 2-3 inches deep of the mulch around the root area of the plant, trees, shrubs, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants.
- Use a weed plastic just under the mulch if you want to go further in keeping the weeds down – just don’t use black plastic. Black plastic will not let any water and oxygen exchange that the roots of the plant requires. Just make sure that the plastic you use have holes just around the plant’s perimeter to let the water/moisture get absorbed by the roots.
- You can also use newspaper, an old carpet or cardboard or whatever that will help you in covering the mulch to help in weed suppression.
There are creative ways that you can use the mulch. However, you need to understand that there are specific type of mulches that you can apply in certain situations.
About the Author – Turtle Nursery:
Turtle Nursery: http://www.turtlenursery.com.au is a family-run business with 40 years’ experience, Turtle Nursery and Landscaping Supplies’ reputation is built on friendly advice, great service and very competitive prices across our entire range of nursery supplies.