Mulching is essential for fostering healthy horticulture, or growing a great garden.
What is mulch?
Basically, mulch is a protective covering in a garden bed (either flowers, herbs, ornamental plantings or vegetables) that is usually made of organic items (such as bark, peat moss, wood chips or shavings). Papers, rocks, textiles and other materials may also be used to mulch a garden bed.
What are the main purposes of garden mulching? Here are eight great reasons to mulch a garden.
Garden Mulch Adds Weed Control.
Mulch helps to hold back the growth of unwanted vegetation in a garden bed by blocking the sunlight from sprouting weeds. In addition, a generous application of mulch can fill the empty spaces in a garden, discouraging wind-borne weeds from taking root.
Garden Mulch Helps Control Garden Pests.
Many types of garden mulching materials can actually keep garden pests at bay. In particular, aromatic wood chips and shavings can uninvite many types of insects from garden plantings. Roughly textured mulches (such as wood bark, stone chips or rocks) usually deter creeping garden pests (such as slugs) from taking up residence in garden beds as well.
Garden Mulch Conserves Moisture in Soil.
Evaporation can quickly steal essential moisture from bare, unprotected garden beds. However, a well-mulched garden can retain water in the soil to nurture flowers, herbs, vegetables and other desirable plants.
Garden Mulch Prevents Erosion.
Most mulch adds texture and stability to garden soils, keeping erosion to a minimum, even in heavy rains or winds.
Garden Mulch Enhances Plant Nutrition.
Organic mulches (such as plant matter and wood mulches) even add nutritional value to the soil as they decompose naturally. Many of these biodegradable mulch materials contain essential minerals and other important components to nurture garden plants.
Garden Mulch Minimizes Soil Compaction.
Unmulched gardens can suffer from compacted soil, particularly with repeated watering and weather-related evaporation. However, many organic mulches appeal to earthworms, which can burrow through soil to add aeration and healthy dirt density for plants.
Garden Mulch Protects Plants in Seasonal Changes.
In regions with varying climates, garden mulch can guard plants and their roots from baking in hot weather and from freezing in colder conditions. Mulch also shields garden plantings’ roots from direct exposure to the elements, such as hard rains, scorching sunshine and harsh winds.
Garden Mulch Improves the Garden’s Overall Appearance.
Finally, most garden mulches greatly enhance the look of garden plantings. For this reason, professional gardeners and landscapers nearly always finish their work with garden mulch. Even sparsely planted gardens look polished with liberal mulching.
Mulch is an essential component in the well-tended and well-dressed garden.