Mulching your garden is one of the best ways to keep your plants in their best possible condition, especially for new plants and trees. However, due to the strenuous and time consuming nature of mulching, it can be an activity people avoid altogether.
This is unfortunate because there are exceptional benefits that come with proper mulching of garden beds.
Mulching is the process of evenly covering soil in a layer of matter in hope of producing more favourable conditions for plant growth and development.
Types of Mulch
The type of mulch you need depends on your garden. There are two basic kinds of mulch, both advantageous in their own way. The most common type of the two, organic mulch. Made up of once living materials including leaves, grass clippings, compost, wood chips, straw and even paper. This type of mulch enriches your soil as the organic matter breaks down, releasing essential nutrients for plant growth and development.
Then there is inorganic mulch, which is often made out coloured plastics and geotextiles (permeable fabrics that allow liquid and gases to pass through it). While this kind of mulch does not breakdown, it lasts longer and requires a lot less effort to maintain than organic mulch.
Regardless of their differences, organic and inorganic mulching both share these top 5 benefits of mulching…
1. Mulching Helps Retain Moisture
Plants need frequent watering like all living things do. However, mulching can actually reduce the watering needs of plants. A deep layer of mulch will protect your garden from sunlight and heat. The two direct contributors to evaporation, where most moisture from the ground is taken from.
Mulch also retains moisture by almost completely eliminating loss of water to wind.
By reducing water loss due to evaporation and wind, your mulched garden bed is able to retain moisture around your plants and trees saving you from time consuming, daily watering.
2. Mulching Reduces Weeds In Your Garden
Invasive weeds when present in our garden beds aggressively compete for sun, water and nutrients. Everything in which plants need to grow. This creates a competition against the plants or trees we WANT to grow and the nasty weeds we despise.
What some may not know is that weed seeds can lie dormant for years on end until the soil is cultivated. Once this occurs, the seeds rise to the surface, receive sunlight and subsequently grow to attack everything around them.
A layer of mulch will severely limit the amount of sunlight that gets through to the seeds. Not only reducing weed growth but the time spent weeding.
3. Mulching Helps Maintain Even Soil Temperatures
Mulch maintains soil temperatures much like insulation works for a house, keeping home owners cool in hot summers and warn in cold winters.
A layer of mulch is able to provide shade from the sun and protection from cold air. This creates a more conducive environment in which roots can expand quickly with strength year round without being affected by seasonal extremes.
4. Mulching Guards Against Damage
While you might think all the benefits of mulching happen below the ground – that’s not true!
A layer of mulch also has the practical benefit of creating a buffer between your plants and lawn equipment. Shielding away the dangers from common lawn care equipment such as mower blades, line trimmers and wheel barrows.
What’s more is that this buffer also shields your plants and trees from nasty pests!
5. Mulched Gardens Looks Great!
When done right, mulching can make any garden look great! It’s all in the colours, tones and textures. It creates a dynamic backdrop against which all of your plants stand out in new and interesting ways. Just check out these mulched garden beds!
Importance of Proper Mulching
It is highly important that any and all mulching of garden beds is done properly. While the task may seem simple as evenly spreading mulch in and around your plants, improper mulching is very common and can often do more harm than good.
Did you know that you can over mulch?
Improper mulching can lead to unwanted garden problems such as:
Water & Air Blockage
Knowing what mulching materials to use and how much is necessary for your yard is something only mulching professionals know.
Mulching is a key component to maintaining a healthy and attractive landscape. It is essential because of its versatility and wide ranging benefits. When done correctly, it is a time saving measure for any part of your lawn or garden. Mulched areas are more weed-free and drought-resistant than areas without mulch, thus saving you the time and energy of constantly weeding, watering, and combating pests.