Do you get exhausted in just a couple of hours while being outside in the garden? If yes, then think about your precious plants that remain still in the scorching sun. Just like us, they also feel the brunt of the summer heat.
Well, you can try mulching the garden, and you will be all set to protect your favorite plants from seasonal changes. If you’re a gardener, then you might have heard that the title of best friend is given to mulching. So, keep reading this blog to know about mulching in detail.
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What is mulching and its advantages?
Mulching can be described as a practice for covering the soil surface around plants by using an organic or inorganic matter layer. Such kind of layer acts like a protective barrier. With this, you can expect several advantages for your plants and overall landscape. So, it’s time to go through the benefits of mulching:
1) Temperature moderation
Mulch acts like an insulating layer that regulates the soil temperature extremes. You can use mulch in hot weather to keep the soil cool, as it will protect them by shading them from direct sunlight. On the other hand, your plants can also be protected in the colder season from frost as they easily retain the soil’s heat. With this, you can create a favorable environment for your plant growth.
2) Disease and pest management
Some kinds of mulch have a repellent effect on certain pathogens or pests. In this case, you can use certain essential oils and plant materials. However, not all mulches are strong enough to provide disease or pest control. But pest management strategies can be integrated into specific options.
3) Soil improvement
Organic mulches, like compost, can easily break down with time. But the thing to note here is that you can enrich your soil with such organic matter. Once they are done decomposing, they can aid your soil by improving its structure and fertility. As a result, nutrient availability and drainage can be enhanced.
4) Moisture conservation
Soil moisture can be conserved as mulch can reduce evaporation. It acts like a barrier that can prevent water from escaping into the air, and thus, moisture can be preserved for the plant roots. During the dry and hot periods, it can be more beneficial for you as they can reduce the frequency required for watering.
5) Weed suppression
Mulching benefits soil by blocking sunlight from reaching it. Weed seed germination can be prevented, and even the existing weed’s growth can be suppressed. With this, you can reduce the competition among plants for light, water, and nutrients. As a result, your requirement for herbicide and manual weeding can be minimized.
Do you want to enhance the appearance of your landscape and garden beds? If yes, then don’t forget to try mulching because it provides a neat look that can be used for creating defined borders or pathways. When it comes to mulch, they come in a range of textures and colors as they allow to create attractive and creative landscaping designs.
How to mulch your garden?
1) Prepare the area
Suppose you’ve decided to apply mulch in a particular area, then it would be better to remove any existing vegetation or weeds before starting mulching. In case, the soil is dry, then watering it is a good idea.
2) Choose the right mulch
According to your garden’s specific need, preference, and the plants you’re growing you can select a suitable mulch material. You can use commonly used organic mulches like leaves, wood chips, and straws. For specific purposes, you can also use inorganic options such as gravel.
3) Determine the thickness
Now, it’s time to decide the appropriate thickness of your mulch layer. Generally, it is recommended to use a layer of 2 to 4 inches or 5 to 10 cm. You might be required to adjust the thickness according to the specific plants or some types of mulch. There is no need to pile up mulch against your tree trunks or plant stems. Because this can result to stem rot.
4) Apply the mulch
Make sure to spread the mulch evenly over your soil surface. You can extend it to the edge of plant beds or the drip line of trees. It would be better to take the help of a shovel to distribute the mulch and uniformly, cover the entire area. However, don’t bury the tree trunks or bases of plants.
5) Maintain mulch depth
It’s a matter of time only because organic mulch can decompose and further, settles. You can add more mulch periodically as per the requirement to maintain the desired depth. Annually, keep an eye on the mulch layer, and don’t forget to replenish it.
6) Water the mulched area
Just after mulching, you can water the area to make the mulch settle and ensure there is good contact with the soil. However, there is a need to be cautious not to overwater because excessive moisture retention can result in issues like root rot.
7) Monitor and adjust as needed
If it’s possible, then regularly watch your mulched area. In case, there is any problem like weed growth, then you can easily make adjustments. Also, check the condition of your mulch periodically, and if it’s required, then replace it.
Organic is always the best option to go for whenever the topic is about the health & well-being of plants. Now, it’s time for you to sit back and enjoy the growth of plants. However, keep in mind that the mulching process might vary according to the unique characteristics of the garden. Also, the type of mulch being used in the garden.