Mulch is any material placed over soil in the garden. It's designed to retain moisture, deter weeds and keep the soil from eroding.
The benefits of mulch are plentiful. For the busy gardener, it is a great time-saving device because it helps to prevent weeds from sprouting in the garden. In addition, it can keep the soil moist, reducing the need for constant watering. Mulch will enrich the existing soil and prevent rain and other elements from washing it away. Besides, a thick layer often looks much better in a garden than bare soil.
Mulch can come from several sources. Consumers can either buy it through a landscaper or garden center, or they can make their own by shredding leaves, sticks, grass, bark, compost and other organic material. By doing this instead of throwing the material out with the trash, people are recycling and saving the environment from more landfill. Manure also makes a great mulch, but many people shy away from it because of the smell.
When choosing a mulch, there are several factors to take into consideration, including the types of plants it will be used with, the climate and even the type of soil underneath. A gardening expert can help a gardener choose the type that's right for his or her planting. The instructions on the bag are detailed and informative. Some are dyed black or red to look nicer in the garden, but non-dyed mulch is readily available, and most landscapers and nurseries prefer to vend the dye free variety.
Some mulching basics include the following:
- In order to reap maximum benefits, a layer of mulch should be 2 to 4 inches (5.08 to 10.16 cm) thick.
- A coarse mulch will help to keep weeds from erupting in a garden.
- A finer texture will decompose quickly, leading to the need for more frequent mulching.
- Before mulching, all weeds should be removed and the soil should be given a good, thorough soaking.
- Mulch should never be incorporated into the soil as this can hinder a plant's growth. Instead, it should be placed only on top of the soil.
- A thick layer of newspaper also works like mulch. Since most newspapers have vegetable-based inks, there's no need to worry about damage to the environment.
People who are starting a garden should not forget to mulch. The plants and soil will be much healthier, and the garden as a whole will look nicer.