What to Know about Mulching
Mulch as used in gardening and agriculture is a protective layer of covering that is placed on top of the ground to tame the effects of climate. Mulch can be made of synthetic or natural materials or a combination of the two to form an extensive layer of covering.
There are various reasons for covering the soil with mulch. They are used to monitor the proliferation of weeds by hindering the, from attaining sunlight and hence decreasing their chance of germinating. Next, mulch helps in maintaining soil water by slowing down the process of evaporation. Additionally, mulch doubles as fertilizer when natural mulch breaks down into organic matter and beneficial plant nutrients. It also acts as an insect repellant to insects that could be destructive to your plants. Mulching is important in that it helps the plants to grow by reflecting sunlight to the plants upwards and increasing the process of photosynthesis. In numerous landscapes, mulch has been used as a decorative element.
How to apply mulch in a Landscape
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When installing mulch in a landscape, the following measures should be followed.
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Never use more than 3-4 inches depth of mulch. When re-mulching, the overall depth should be kept under 4, ” and it is more considerable to use 2-3 inches. If necessary remove the old mulch or break it up if it has become matted. Ensure that you have put the right amount of mulch; too much mulch may dry up the upper root zone and may lead to the plant roots growing upwards into the mulch.
Ensure that the mulch is pulled back several inches to create a free space around the stem. Too much mulch around the stem of the plant may cause decay, and it invites disease and insect damage.
Be cautious whenever you are using treated sewage sludge. These are rich in nitrogen and can lead to excessive growth and burn your plants. This type of mulch is used as a soil amendment in controlled amounts.
There are many materials that are used in making mulch. Of the most used mulch materials are ground-up hardwood, bark mulch, and dyed mulches. It is also possible to make mulch from plastic so as to protect the soil and maintain its consistency. In the cold season or in cold areas, stone and gravel are used as a mulching material to retain the heat. Pine needles are most suitable mulch material as they are used to adjust the temperatures of the soil, by keeping it warm during the cold season, and cool during the summer.
Mulch is applied at the start of each growing season and if necessary additional mulch is used all through the season.