Mulching is one of the fundamental steps of gardening that every gardener should take seriously if they want to achieve the best results. With all the different materials and responsibilities that go into creating and maintaining a healthy garden, mulching can often be overlooked or misunderstood. But the benefits of using mulch are varied and far reaching, from nourishing and enriching soil to keeping plants hydrated, and ought to be a staple in your garden supplies.
Mulch is a combination of materials, usually organic in nature, that gets applied to the top of soil. There are many different types of mulch, and traditional components of mulch include recycled timbers, grass clippings, shredded bark, hay, sawdust, manure, compost, leaves and more. Mulch can be found in most garden supplies stores. If you’re looking at mulching a large area of your garden, it might be handy to look into mulch delivery.
Different types of mulch will be used in different conditions depending on the desired outcome. But here are 5 overarching reasons why garden mulch is highly beneficial.
1. It Nourishes the Soil
The first reason why you should be mulching your garden is because it’s going to aid the soil underneath. Without quality soil, a garden has no room to grow. But a top layer of mulch has the potential to break up clay within the soil, making for a consistency that favours air and water movement. This increase in soil productivity will have a positive effect on the rest of the garden, leading to overall stronger plant growth.
2. It Hydrates the Plants
Mulch has the ability to trap moisture within itself and the soil underneath, negating evaporation and maintaining a healthy water level for plants and flowers. This can be especially beneficial during the hot and dry season where the sun can be too powerful for an unprotected layer of soil. By absorbing any water, mulch will hold onto the valuable moisture that plants need to grow effectively. In fact, mulch can hold up to 70% more water in the soil than if it wasn’t there.
3. It Weakens any Weeds
Weeds are a garden’s biggest pest, and if unmaintained, they have the potential to wreak havoc on any surrounding plant life. Fortunately, mulch has what it takes to fight back against weeds. A layer of mulch will restrict weeds from growing while also making them easier to extract if they do break through. This is because mulch blocks some of the sunlight that would otherwise help weeds grow and fester.
4. It Insulates the Soil
Controlling the temperature of soil is one of the key aspects of gardening to get right, and thankfully mulch can make this process so much easier. Under the hot sun of summer, soil is at risk of drying out and losing all of its valuable nutrients. This is where a layer of mulch can act as a protective barrier between the sun and soil, by insulating the soil underneath and keeping it cool from the dehydrating effects of the sun above.
5. It Decreases Your Work
This last reason encompasses all the previous reasons, as mulching your garden will eliminate much of the day-to-day work that goes into gardening. Tasks such as watering, fertilising, and weeding don’t need to be performed as frequently, as mulching has the wonderful ability to allow for a healthier garden at a lower maintenance level.
How to Mulch
Now that we’ve established why mulching is hugely beneficial to the state of your garden, here are some handy pieces of advice to follow before you stock up on your garden supplies.
Firstly, make sure your garden is free of any weeds and has been watered thoroughly.
Secondly, remove any grass underneath trees and replace it with mulch. This will stop any competing water and nutrients from going to the grass instead of the mulch.
Thirdly, place your mulch at least 6-12 inches away from the base of any trees or plants in your garden.
Lastly, apply your mulch 2-4 inches deep in planting areas, depending on the consistency of the mulch.