Mulch is a layer of organic or inorganic material that gardeners spread around the stem of plants, shrubs, or trees. Mulch is used to nurture the soil and protect the roots from harsh environmental elements. A layer of mulch can improve the overall aesthetics of your garden or landscape. However, the benefits of mulch are not limited to aesthetics and improving the soil. There is so much that it can do for your plants, shrubs, and trees. Let us explore in this post how mulch helps grow your plants and trees better.
Maintaining constant moisture levels in your soil is an important part of growing healthy plants. A plant with adequate and constant humidity will be less stressed, which means it will be better able to resist insects and disease. Mulch retains water keeping the roots moist, and keeps the soil cooler in hot climates, increasing the time many plants take to germinate or rest. Some plants flower better in cooler conditions, and mulch will help them flower longer.
Some locations are too warm in summers that the high temperatures can harm the plants and if the soil dries up, it can deprive the roots of water and nutrients. In comparison, some locations experience conditions like frost and snowfall that make the roots susceptible to rot due to low temperatures. A thick layer of mulch protects the roots from extreme temperatures and maintains the temperature of the soil, thereby helping plants to survive in such conditions.
Organic mulch eventually breaks down, and that’s a good thing. When they break down, they provide plants with nitrogen and other nutrients. However, fresh wood chips can actually fix nitrogen when they decompose. Therefore, only use them as a top layer of mulch or let them age before use. They are better for shrubs and trees than annuals and vegetables. Because mulch is biodegradable, it provides your plants with nutrients so they can grow strong and healthy.
Weeds are invasive for any garden and they steal the sunlight, water, and nutrients from your plants. They require light for germination and growth. Spreading a layer of mulch 5 to 7 cm thick on the soil prevents the growth of weeds. This prevents sunlight from lighting the surface of the soil and making the germination of weeds impossible. Do not spread a layer thicker than three inches as it can make the soil deprived of oxygen.
Mulch also acts as a physical barrier against weeds. A thick layer of mulch also physically prevents the germination of weed seeds. Because the mulch blocks their access to sunlight, they don’t have enough energy to penetrate the two inches of the layer. Organic hedges can also be home to crickets and beetles that devour weed seeds.
Mulches, especially the organic types, encourage the growth of earthworms in the soil. They create air tunnels in the soil that make air and water to the soil. Worms also break up the shed leaves and organic matter in the soil. Its residues are discarded in the form of casts. The castings act as a kind of fertilizer and help the plants to grow.
Garden mulch will help protect the roots of your trees and flowers. Covering the soil with a layer of organic mulch helps reduce loss of moisture through evaporation and can help minimize weed growth. Now as you know the benefits of using mulch, you can use it in your garden to help your plants and trees grow fast and maintain the aesthetics of your landscape.