Facts about Mulching and Mulches The process of improving the soil around plants using mulches, such as straw, wood chips, leaves and grass clippings, is referred to as mulching and through this procedure, it has also provided a neat and tidy appearance of a garden, as well as reducing the amount of time that can be spent on watering and weeding the garden. You can either use mulches on a bare soil or to cover the compost surface in flowering or plant containers. Knowing that plants need constant moisture for proper growth, the moisture retention can be achieved by mulching, which makes use of mulches to absorb the water. Mulches help both in the absorption of water from rainfall and irrigation and the slowing down of 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. Through mulching, slow erosion is produced since the process 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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The layer of mulch prevents sunlight from reaching into the germinating weeds from the soil to grow and this in effect allows mulching to suppress the growth of unwanted weed in the plant beds and in the garden. On the other hand, when weed seeds land on top of the mulch, they aren’t able to root themselves deeply into the soil, making it impossible for them to continue growing.
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Organic mulch material, like wood chips or leaves, break down over time, such that the decomposing mulch adds nutrient-rich organic matter to the soil, and in effect, these nutrients feed the plants and organisms living in the plant area that are covered with mulch. The decomposed mulch also improve the structure of the soil by adding space between the particles in the soil, such that the added space allows the roots to receive water, oxygen, and nutrients because the soil is not hard nor compact. Applying mulch can be entirely done on garden beds and borders, but one should take care not to smother low growing plants or against stems of woody plants. To effectively apply mulches, the following must be observed: 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.