Of all the steps you can take to help encourage garden growth, mulching is right up there with watering your plants and flowers. The benefits of mulching are numerous, and the growth results make the additional work more than worth the effort. So while you may feel that simply watering your garden is enough, mulching adds another layer of healthy growing options to your repertoire.
Choosing the right mulch is very important when deciding to include mulching as part of your gardening. Some mulch is better suited for trees while others work best with specific parts of your garden. Knowing which to use and when will also jump start growth and ensure the health of your plants.
What Is Mulch?
Mulch is essentially any material that can be spread over the surface of soil to act as a covering. This can include grass clippings, shredded leaves or straw, compost, or manure. Typically mulch comes in organic matter, but there are a few non organic materials that qualify as mulch such as newspapers.
Benefits of Mulching
As we mentioned, mulching plays an important role in aiding plants or trees to grow. More than just acting as a cover, mulch insulates the soil and protects against harsh weather conditions, either extreme hot or cold. It also keeps the roots of the plants or trees moist by helping the soil retain water, and prevents weeds from forming.
The fact that mulch acts as a protective layer contributes to tree growth considerably. Roots need ideal conditions in which to grow, which include adequate levels of moisture and the temperature of the soil to be moderate. By essentially recreating forest conditions with the floor being constantly covered by twigs and other matter, mulching promotes trees or plants to grow almost as naturally as they would if they were in their original habitat.
One indirect benefit of mulching that should be mentioned is that it’s an easy and effective way to recycle organic matter. Living in a time where properly caring for the environment is such a big issue, this a point that cannot be overlooked.
The Right Mulch for the Job
Not all mulch is created equal. Bark, for instance, is better used around trees or in areas where not a lot of digging needs to be done. Grass clippings used as mulch is great for those areas where you’re looking to keep the weeds away. It’s a good idea not to be too liberal with grass clippings. They retain a good deal of moisture which can end up giving off an odd odour. And believe it or not, newspapers are actually another mulch that is used to keep weeds away. Just soak them so they stay in place. Compost or compost manure is good to use on pretty much any area, so are shredded leaves. Straw on the other hand is best for vegetable gardens.
If you’re a DIY gardener, it’s always a good idea to have a conversation with someone at the supply store. The people at FSI Landscape Supply are knowledgeable and can help you through selecting or using the right mulch to help your garden look its best.