Mulching involves placing a protective barrier of decomposing organic materials around your plants and over the bare soil. There is also synthetic or inorganic mulch made from pebbles, recycled tires, crushed rock, and plastic.
This protective barrier plays a significant role in promoting the growth of healthier plants, as well as fighting off pests and other problems. Let’s take a look at seven of the biggest benefits of mulching:
Mulching shields the soil from the sun, which in turn helps retain moisture longer by preventing evaporation. It also reduces water run-off thereby cutting down on the amount of water needed for each plant.
Mulch is usually comprised of bark, wood chips, pine needles, and other materials that break down over time to provide more nutrients to the soil. These help strengthen the plants and promote the best overall health and vibrancy.
Mulch acts as a natural barrier to prevent weeds from growing and competing with plants for nutrients. It does this by blocking the sunlight and stunting their growth. Even if weeds do manage to grow around your plants, you’ll find it much easier to remove them.
Certain mulch elements such as tree barks contain natural oils that can protect your plants against pests and critters. These oils act as a form of repellent to keep these unwanted pests out of your garden. You’ll notice that some mulches come with stronger scents than others, which makes them more effective at repelling these unwelcome visitors.
Because of its many layers of organic or inorganic materials, mulch can protect your garden against soil erosion. It acts as a barrier to break the fall of rainwater, preserving the soil integrity. If you’ve ever experienced soil erosion in your garden before, then you know how costly it can be to remedy. It’s best to prevent it from occurring in the first place.
Mulching provides great insulation and proper temperature regulation for the soil. This helps keep the plant roots cool during the hot months and warm during winter. Reducing plant stress is an important aspect of maintaining a healthy garden and mulching is one of the best ways to achieve this.
Certain plants can benefit greatly from mulching because it stops soil from coming in contact with their leaves and fruits. This helps reduce the chances of fungus disease and fruit rot from spreading on the plants. Usually, when mud splashes on some plants, the leaves become susceptible to fungal growths, but mulching reduces the chances of this happening.
You can apply mulch at three different times:
In each case, make sure to remove any weeds and other unwanted growths before applying the mulch. This will help minimize the competition for water and nutrients once the seeds have been planted.
It is important to also consider the type of mulch being used — Finer mulches can be applied around two inches deep max while courser mulches can be applied up to four inches deep. The idea is to apply it thick enough to prevent the regrowth of weeds, but not so deep that it mixes into the soil.
If you’re working with young seedlings or transplants, you’re better off using finer mulches as heavy, coarse materials can impede the growth of the plants. Either way, make sure the seedlings are well established and strong enough to stand on their own before mulching to prevent the onset of fungal growths at the soil line.
Mulching is a tried and tested method for sprucing up your landscape and improving the environment for your plants in a short time period. If you’d like to learn more about how mulching can benefit your garden or you need professional help getting it done, turn to Landscape Improvements today.
We have been servicing Orlando, FL, and the surrounding cities since 1992, providing both residential and commercial landscape maintenance and care to hundreds of customers. Contact us today to get started with a landscape service consultation.