When mulching, a loose surface is placed on the soil surface in a flower or vegetable garden to protect, isolate and beautify the area. This bulk layer is called mulch and can be organic or inorganic. Examples of mulch are compost, stone and grass. Every gardener needs to understand the many benefits of soil mulch in his garden. This article explains the benefits of mulching, choosing the right mulch, and several different types of organic and inorganic mulch.
Let’s examine some of the benefits of mulching:
- Prevents soil erosion – soil erosion occurs when wind or water slowly wears out and removes the soil surface. Mulching your floor prevents this because there is now an interchangeable protective coating. This happens between the surface of the land and the natural forces above it.
- Insulate the floor in winter – Strong winter temperatures can be unfavorable. With soil mulch in winter, the soil is isolated, protected from repeated freezing and the pattern of thawing and plant roots is isolated. This prevents the soil from lifting (bending up) in the spring. The mulch must be applied to the ground when it is frozen and removed in the spring, only if there is no risk of additional ice. Because of multiple winters, the ground melts faster in spring.
- Cooling the soil in summer – The mulch layer in summer protects the soil underneath from extreme summer heat and reduces the need for constant irrigation, e.g. H. Water retention increases.
- Helps against soil compaction – The mulch layer acts as a buffer or additional layer between formations, which is soil compaction below z. People, equipment, heavy rain.
- Improve appearance – mulch applied to your bed can make it more complete and attractive. This varies from mulch to mulch, because some look more attractive and natural than others.
- Prevent weed growth – One of the more useful mulch benefits is the prevention of weeds. While mulch itself does not prevent weeds from germinating, it functions as a barrier between weeds and the outside world above. When weeds reach the mulch layer, it cannot break it down and eventually die. Some mulch does this to prevent weeds better than others. Mulch depth also contributes to this. However, caution must be used when choosing mulch, because some mulches such as grass clippings and straw can actually contain weed seeds.
- Keep fruits and vegetables clean – A mulch layer reduces the chance of fruits and vegetables being contaminated by splashes from the soil.
Choose the right mulch for your garden
Care must be taken when choosing mulch for your garden, because everyone is different and exactly meets your requirements. Here are some common factors to consider:
- Soil pH compatibility – Some mulch such as bark mulch and pine needle mulch can affect soil pH. Therefore they are best suited for soils with plants that like acid.
- Spring removal – Some mulch needs to be removed in the spring because they can strangle plants as they appear. Examples are stone mulch and sawdust made of bark.
- Cost – Does the cost factor limit your choice of mulch? In this case, you can find your mulch for free by choosing a particular type. If you store a lot of compost, you have compost for mulch. Other free mulches (if you have a source) are pine needles and grass clippings.
- Appearance – Are you interested in what the bed will look like when applying mulch? Each mulch looks different and depending on the design of your garden, you might want to choose a mulch that matches the color and texture.
- Water and air come in – Some mulch allows water and air to be better than others. This can be important depending on crop irrigation needs.
- Add nutrients to the soil – Organic mulch will restore nutrients to the soil when it decomposes. The type of nutrition and the amount that is added back to the soil depends on mulch and varies greatly. The use of compost as mulch guarantees your plants plenty of nutrients.
Several types of organic mulch
This type of mulch was once a living material and will decompose like that from time to time. Important nutrients are added back to your soil during decomposition. However, if you have rodent problems, you should avoid using organic mulch. Some common organic mulches are:
- Compost – Mulch and feed the soil during decomposition. This mulch is free if you have access to your own compost heap. Apply to a depth of 1-3 inches.
- Pine needles – often used in acid soils. Cheap, looks good and allows water to flow freely to the ground. However, it decomposes quite slowly. Apply to a depth of 1 – 1.5 inches
- Straw – Provides excellent insulation, water penetration, and weed control. Care must be taken to ensure that straws do not contain weeds themselves. Apply to a depth of 6-8 inches.
- Grass waste – easily accessed and decomposed quickly by adding nitrogen to the soil again. Try not to apply it too fresh, because it can overheat and possibly damage your plants. Apply to a depth of 1 inch.
- Journal – Provides exceptional weed control and is easily accessible. Apply another mulch to keep it in place. Apply in 2 layers.
Several types of inorganic mulch
Inorganic mulch is an inert material that is not derived from living material. Sometimes inorganic and organic mulch are used together. For example, geotextiles (inorganic mulch) can be covered and held with bark (organic mulch). Some inorganic mulches are:
- Stone – Looks good and provides very good insulation. If springs are a factor in choosing mulch, avoid using stones. This is degrading very, very slowly. Apply it to a depth of 2-4 inches.
- Plastic – does not decompose and does not add anything to the floor. It functions as a great weed control and is easy to use. It must be perforated so that water can pass through it. Apply with a thickness of 1-6 mm.
- Geotextile – expensive synthetic fibers, similar to blankets, which provide excellent weed control and allow water to penetrate. This is almost always used in combination with mulch (eg chips). Apply in one layer.
In this article, we look at the many benefits of mulch and the various types available. Maybe take some time today to decide which mulch to use in your garden if you haven’t started it in the past. You will be surprised how cheap the process is if you use mulch as compost from your compost pile, grass clippings from grass clippings and / or Sunday newspapers! Have fun.