Mulch is not only attractive, but it also has several advantages, like making garden maintenance easier and improving the health of your plants. Organic mulching such as straw, wood chips, leaves and grass clippings, offer the greatest benefits.
Moisture is vital for plants and their growth. Mulching your plants helps to keep the moisture locked much longer than uncovered soil. The mulch material absorbs water and helps to slow down the evaporation of that water. The improved water retention often results in a reduction of required watering, allowing you to reduce water consumption. Erosion is also slowed down by mulching your plants, as it helps prevent the water from washing away the soil.
SOIL TEMPERATURE CONTROL
Mulch serves as an insulating layer for the soil, so the ground temperature changes more slowly. Applied in the spring or early summer, mulch keeps the soil cooler for longer. The mulching material absorbs some of the sun’s rays and slows the temperature increase of the soil. As winter approaches and temperatures drop, the layer of mulch allows the soil to retain heat. This, in turn, allows plants to grow longer than they would otherwise, helping to protect the plants’ roots from harsh winter temperatures.
While healthy plant growth pushes out some weed growth, a layer of mulch suppresses even more unwanted weed growth in your gardens. It prevents sunlight from reaching the germinating weeds, hindering or halting their growth. Weed seeds that land on top of mulch aren’t able to root themselves deeply into the soil, so even if they grow they are easier to remove.
Organic mulch materials, such as wood chips or leaves, break down over time. This decomposing mulch adds nutrient-rich organic matter to the soil. These nutrients feed the plants and organisms living in the planting area covered with mulch. The decomposed materials also improve the structure of the soil by adding space between particles in the soil. The added space in the soil better supplies plant roots with water, oxygen and nutrients because the roots aren’t compressed in hard, compacted soil.