Top 10 Benefits Of Using Mulch In Your Garden
You’ve probably heard that mulch is a good idea for any garden. But what are the top 10 benefits of using mulch in your garden? Mulch is a term that can describe various materials used to cover the soil in the garden. Mulching is an essential part of gardening because it can help maintain moisture levels in the ground and reduce weed growth.
Most gardeners would probably agree that one of the healthiest and most effective methods of caring for plants is to use mulch. It is an all-natural approach, which can help you grow beautiful and luscious plants in your garden. However, if you’ve heard of this method before, yet you’re a beginner in gardening, it’s essential to know what benefits to anticipate when mulching.
With the trend of people eating healthier than ever, it’s understandable why you’d like to raise your organic fruits and vegetables.
Nothing beats the nutrients and health benefits of eating produce coming from your garden beds. But starting a garden requires you to do a lot of things first. Maybe you need to clear out some trees that can be adequately taken care of by experts like Canopy Tree services. Or perhaps you need to be accustomed to all the necessary procedures of maintaining your plants’ condition and health. For starters, enlighten yourself on what mulch is and what advantages come with it.
What Is Mulch?
A mulch is a thin layer of any kind of material laid over the soil. It replicates the conditions seen in the forest. It retains moisture in the soil, suppresses weeds, keeps the soil cool, prevents frost heaving in winter, and improves the appearance of garden beds. The decomposition of mulches also improves soil structure, drainage, and nutrient retention. While organic mulches can be decomposed for some time, unnatural or synthetic mulches also help nurture plant growth.
The following are some of the benefits of mulching your garden:
1. Suppresses Weed
There are two ways in which mulch inhibits weed growth. The mulch covers the soil thoroughly and restricts the light that weed seeds need to germinate, so they will not grow. Through this procedure, the mulch will block the possibilities of weeding. Another reason is that it will be responsible for covering all loose soil so dirt won’t have any space. It means seedlings for weeds won’t penetrate the soil and that no weeds will sprout. Shade, looseness, and moisture are all kept by organic mulch. If some weed seeds in your garden beds are found, you can uproot them easily by pulling them off.
2. Allows Plants To Survive Various Weather Conditions
Mulch can help plants survive the driest seasons. Insulating the soil keeps it cool and moist during the summer. Cooled soil will make plants more vigorous and less susceptible to heat stress. During winter, mulch can prevent soil from freezing. It is helpful for your root crop vegetation. However, keep in mind that during the colder season (probably before winter), some gardeners prefer to take a break at mulching so that the ground will be able to soak more sunlight. Or perhaps you can incorporate synthetic mulches like plastic instead to trap heat within the soil.
3. Sustains Nutrients To The Plants
While using organic fertilizers for gardening is beneficial, mulching also provides nutrients for your plants. Different varieties of mulch come from other components, but they generally consist of organic and inorganic materials decomposing. The common mulch types used include grass clippings, barks, pine needles, landscape fabric, synthetic plastics, and more.
When combining these materials altogether, nutrients can be produced to feed the soil and sustain the health of the plants. It can make plants healthier and more vibrant. This benefit related to nutrients is one of the most famous reasons why gardeners pursue mulching. Nutrients are essential ingredients for plants, in addition to sunlight and water.
4. Aids In Retaining Soil Moisture
Growing healthy plants is dependent on maintaining a consistent moisture level in the soil. The plants will have a better chance of resisting insects and diseases if they have a constant moisture level. While some insects are good and healthy, some pests can be avoided when the soil is moist enough.
The advantage of mulch is that it keeps the soil moist while keeping it cool in hot weather, which prolongs the time for many plants to go dormant or dry up. Mulch will keep cool-weather plants blooming longer since some bloom best in cooler temperatures.
5. Contributes In Keeping Plants Clean
By spreading mulch around your plants, you prevent soil from splashing onto their leaves, which can help prevent diseases. It is great for plants and vegetables that are leafy and can be eaten as they are. With cleaner plants, you can be confident that your family and friends can enjoy soil or dirt-free lettuce, spinach, and other green leafy vegetables.
6. Reduces Time And Money For Watering
Watering the plants is one required method to keep them in prime condition. But when there are mulches, you can save on the watering. The soil will retain moisture, which means it can thrive even when you water them lesser. It can save you energy and costs, making it a total win-win.
7. Turns Into Soil Hummus
Organic mulches decompose over time, adding organic matter and eventually humus to the soil. Hummus is responsible for reaching the point at which it will no longer decay, so it is considered the holy grail of organic matter. They retain moisture and provide nutrients in the same way a sponge would. Many plants thrive to grow healthier and better in this kind of environment.
Also, Support Other Plants Nearby
Even when you mulch a specific garden bed, the other nearby plants, especially young seedlings, can also benefit from them. Mulch can provide support to the neighboring growing plants as well.
Helps Control Pests
In a sense, mulches such as bark may contain natural oils that act as a repellent from pests. As a result, unwanted insects are kept at bay. While mulch ingredients effectively scare away pests, some attract more harmful insects to your plants. Hence, when deciding on what mulch to use, ensure that they can cause better than harm to your vegetation and crops. Do proper research so you can select the best mulch for a specific plant.
Protects From Erosion
Mulch contains a variety of organic materials that help retain moisture and protect it from soil erosion. Keeping your garden protected from rainwater prevents soil erosion and lessens the risk of flooding in heavy rains by acting as a barrier. Mulch acts as a sponge and works the same way during heavy rain pour. It’s even better to go for plants that are good with erosion control.
Most Different Types Of Mulches
Mulch should be dense enough to prevent weeds from growing but still be light, airy and allow water and air to penetrate the soil. While you may need to consider other variables when finding the perfect mulching materials, here are some of the valuable kinds of mulch for your plants and garden. With two categories, organic and inorganic mulches, each category comes with many textures and materials.
1. Organic Mulches
Materials that are organically sourced are mainly derived from plant or animal matter that was once alive. During decomposition, it returns nutrients to the soil, improving soil structure and quality. Check out the following organic and natural mulches below:
Fallen and finally shredded into pieces, these dead leaves are easily accessible and break down over time, supplying nutrients to the soil. Its disadvantage is that if wet, leaves can mat, reducing the amount of oxygen and moisture in the soil. Hence, it’s best not to let leaves become matted.
Adding compost to soil improves its quality and is readily and easily available. Many towns have leaf composting facilities; you can get it if you don’t have your own. However, you can learn many ways to create your compost. With some leftovers and spoiled food from the kitchen, you’ll have enough compost to sustain your mulching needs.
Clippings are readily available since you cut and maintain your lawn regularly anyway, but they should first be dried or thinly spread out; so they do not become slimy or smelly. Also, be careful not to use those grass clippings that have been contaminated with grass chemicals or fertilizers.
Pine needles stay in place and are attractive because they break down slowly and are not as acidic as you might expect. You don’t have to worry about them affecting the potential hydrogen (pH) of the soil. It could be your safest and best bet among the organic mulches you can find.
2. Synthetic Mulches
Human-made materials can be used as inorganic mulches made from solid materials, but they don’t decompose quickly, and some don’t even decompose. Inorganic mulch comes in different types that can be used for various purposes. Check them out below:
Gravel And River Stone
Stones like gravel and river stone are suitable for plants that require good drainage and prefer additional heat. For purely aesthetic reasons, they are also appropriate choices.
Landscape fabric can be used to protect your soil from growing weeds, and it won’t block air, water, and fertilizers, which is a good thing. These fabrics are resistant to decomposition and keep the soil moist. However, you’ll need to constantly straighten them up to ensure that your plants are protected.
The benefits of mulch-boosted gardens are plentiful – and they also look great! It doesn’t matter whether you’re using organic or synthetic ones, as long as they can give your plant all the benefits stated above. Decide and experiment on which mulch material will work best for your specific plant types.