Gardening Ideas on Mulching Mulching is the process of improving the soil around plants by using mulches, which are straw, wood chips, leaves and grass clippings, as well as giving your garden a neat, tidy appearance, and, at the same time, reduce the amount of time spent on watering and weeding. Mulches are either applied to the bare soil or to cover the surface of compost in plant containers. Moisture retention is the topmost objective of mulching, and since plants need constant moisture for proper growth, the mulch keeps the soil moist for longer than a bare soil. With mulches covering the soil, these absorb water, coming from rainfall and irrigation, and slow down the evaporation of moisture from the soil. With improved water retention, the need for frequent irrigation is reduced and, therefore, plant watering can be spaced out longer so that water consumption is reduced. A mulch layer also slows erosion by preventing water from washing soil out of the garden. Mulching has helped control the soil temperature in the sense that the mulches act as insulating layer to the soil and, therefore, almost maintaining the temperature of the ground. 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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Using organic mulch materials, like wood chips or leaves, can help enrich the soil, since mulch break down over time and the decomposed mulch adds the nutrients to the soil in order to feed the plants and organisms that are existing in the plant area which are covered with mulch. With the decomposition of the mulch, it has further improved the soil structure in such a way that it added space between the particles of the soil, resulting into allowing water, oxygen, and nutrients to reach the plant roots, since the soil is not hard nor compact. While garden beds and borders can be entirely be covered with mulches, care must also be observed for low growing plants and against the 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.