Mulching Done Right

Mulching is the act of placing a layer of material on the surface of earth. Typically used by landscapers and gardeners, mulching is the key to conserving moisture, improving the fertility and quality of soil, reducing the presence of weeds and enhancing the way that the area looks.

Common Mulch Materials

Mulching materials vary, based on personal preferences, climactic factors and the types of plants, flowers or shrubs being mulched. A layer of these materials will surround plants, covering nearby earth. Usually, mulch is organic in structure.

However, some gardeners and landscapers do use inorganic materials in order to get results. Typical mulching materials include leaves, grass, peat moss, wood chips, bark chips, field hay, cardboard and newspaper.

Those who employ mulching in order to make soil healthier and to help plants grow well tend to consider a variety of factors before purchasing or making mulch mixes. Those on budgets may prefer to skip more expensive commercial mulch mixes, in favor of old newspaper mulch or other free or low-cost mulch options.

In addition, analyses of the effects of certain mulches on soil – such as the ways that the soil’s PH level is affected, may be taken into consideration. One other factor that may be considered is how quickly a certain type of mulch is likely to decompose.

Benefits of Mulching

Mulching will help soil to retain precious moisture. Since there will be less evaporation when mulch is applied, gardeners may need to water plants, trees and shrubs less frequently. In addition, this process assists with weed control. By applying just a couple of inches of mulch, it will be possible to decrease the growth rate of weeds.

Since mulch is insulating, it will form a protective cover that keeps earth warm in cold-weather months, and cool when the temperature rises. In addition, many mulch types will enhance soil fertility and decrease the incidence of plant diseases.

Disadvantages of Mulching

In some cases, mulching may be expensive, depending on the type of mulch mix that is used, and how much surface area needs to be covered. In addition, mulching will require some work, so it does take energy. However, the vast majority of gardeners and landscapers find that the benefits of mulching dramatically outweigh these small disadvantages.

Since mulching makes soil more fertile, it’s one of the keys to ensuring that plants, trees and shrubs grow strong and beautiful, and then remain that way for as long as possible.

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