The Basics of Mulch

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Mulch is a term used to describe the protective layer of covering placed on top of the soil to control the consequences of the climate. Mulch is made from natural or synthetic stuff or by combining the two forming a broad assortment of covering material.

There are numerous reasons as to why the soil is covered using mulch. First it controls the rate of growth of weeds by depriving them sunlight and hence lowering their chance of germination. Mulch plays a major role in retaining the soil water by slowing down the evaporation process. Another benefit of mulch is that once natural mulch decays, it can be used as fertilizer as it provides plant nutrients that are beneficial to the plant. Certain materials of mulch are used to repel insects that are quite harmful to the plants. Mulch also speeds up the process of photosynthesis by upward reflection of the sunlight to the plants. Lawn care has also become a decorative element in landscaping.

Steps on Mulch Installation

When installing mulch, the fooling steps should be followed.

At no time should the depth of the mulch exceed 3-4″. During re-mulching, the depth should be under 4 inches with 2-3 inches being considered as plenty. If necessary remove the old mulch or break it up if it has become matted. When applied in excessiveness, the mulch will cause the upper root zone to dry up and also causes the roots to grow into the mulch.

At no time should you pile mulch around the stem; ensure that it is pulled back several inches. Mulch that is piled up at the stem causes it to rot and leads to diseases and damage by insects.

Be cautious whenever you are using treated sewage sludge. These mulches are the darkest yet rich in nitrogen which can contribute to excessive growth as well as burning of the plants. They are best used as a soil repair remedy in limited quantities.

Several materials for lawn care are used to make mulch. Some of the most landscape mulch materials include, bark mulch, hardwood, and dyed mulches. It is also possible to make mulch from plastic so as to protect the soil and maintain its consistency. Another commonly used mulch material is rocks and gravel; the two are utilized for the purpose of heat retention in areas that are cold. Pine needles are also another mulch material, they are useful in adjusting the soil temperature, keeping the soil warm during spring and autumn, and cool during summers.

Mulch is applied at the start of each growing season and if necessary additional mulch is used all through the season.

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