A layer of mulch provides a beautiful finished look to a garden. But did you know that placing mulch in your garden is also one of the best things you can do to ensure its success?
Mulch is like a protective barrier that shields your garden from the elements and keeps your soil plants healthy.
Why Should You Use Mulch? What are the Benefits of Mulch?
Using a layer of mulch in your garden can go a long way towards improving the growth and health of your plants.
One of the main benefits of mulch is its ability to retain moisture in soil. Doing so helps to keep your plants well hydrated, allowing them to grow larger and healthier. During hot, dry periods, a layer of mulch helps to make sure that your plants get the water they need to survive.
The mulch accomplishes this by blocking direct sunlight to the garden’s surface. That prevents evaporation from the soil, and that water seeps down to of the roots of plants instead. Organic mulches can also absorb moisture themselves, keeping the top layer of soil damp and cool.
Providing Nutrients for Healthy Soil
An organic mulch acts kind of like a compost by releasing nutrients into the soil as it breaks down. The micronutrients released will mean healthier, more fertile soil, and in turn this means happier plants!
Mulch works as an insulator for the layer of soil beneath it, protecting the roots of plants from temperature swings. It keeps the ground warmer during the unpredictable cold weather snaps of early spring, and pleasantly cool during the hot days of summer.
Another killer benefit of mulch is its ability to keep weeds out of your garden. Using mulch to fill the empty space in your garden helps to keep weeds from filling that space instead. Mulch kills existing weeds and prevents new weeds from growing in their place by blocking their access to the sunlight they need to grow.
Prevents Soil Erosion
Along with enriching soil, a layer of mulch also protects that soil from rainfall. By reducing the force of rain, it can prevent the washing away of topsoil, where valuable minerals and micronutrients are located.
Keep Out Pests and Invite Earth Worms
Using some organic mulches will also help to keep some unwanted pests out of your garden. Cedar chips for example contain a natural oil that works as an insect repellent. Mulches, including cypress and pinewood chips are also useful for repelling gnats, ticks, and fleas.
Despite keeping unwanted pests out, these same organic mulches can also attract earthworms to your garden. This is thanks to the healthy soil they help provide while breaking down. It’s no \ secret that worms are a garden’s best friend.
So, what is Mulch Exactly?
Mulching is placing a layer of material on the soil around your plants to protect them and that soil. The mulch is whatever you use to create that protective layer.
As for what mulch is made of, it can be just about any material you use for mulching!
Alright, I admit it that probably isn’t the most helpful explanation, but there’s a good reason for that. You see, there’s no shortage of different materials that can be used as mulch.
The Many Types of Mulch: Organic vs Inorganic Mulch
There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to choosing materials for mulching. Those materials can be broken down into two broad categories, organic and inorganic.
Organic mulch is mulch made from natural materials that decay. Over time it will breakdown, and will eventually need to be replaced. During that time, as it decomposes adds fresh nutrients to the soil you place it on, promoting healthy soil and plant growth.
These are just some of the materials that can be used to create an organic mulch:
- Grass Clippings
Inorganic mulch is any mulch that won’t break down over time. While sometimes called synthetic mulch, an inorganic mulch doesn’t have to be artificial. Using a layer of stones or gravel also qualifies as an inorganic mulch.
Inorganic mulches are excellent at retaining moisture in the soil and preventing weeds from growing. While it won’t provide the same benefit to the soil that an organic layer it doesn’t need replacing. This makes an inorganic mulch a popular choice for gardeners who want a lower maintenance option.
Common materials used for an inorganic mulch are
- Decorative stones or gravel
- Rubber or plastic
- Landscape Fabric
Choosing your mulch: What are the benefits of different kinds of mulch?
Different choices of material can each bring unique benefits to the garden when used as mulch.
Source: Fix.com Blog
Placing mulch is one of the best ways to ensure a successful garden. Preventing weeds and retaining moisture is only two of the wonderful benefits that it can bring to your garden.
I hope you learned a lot about why you should use mulch from this article. If I missed anything, please leave a comment and let me know!