The Benefits of Using Mulch in Your Garden or Landscaping
Garden mulch is an organic covering used to retain the moisture in the garden soil. As the mulch naturally degrades over time, the nutrients are absorbed by the soil and directly contribute to the longevity of the garden plants. Well laid garden mulch can also be used to improve the aesthetics of a home garden, without spending a lot of money.
Mulch can be created from a variety of organic materials:
1. Animal manure (make sure that the manure is composted properly before applying to the garden soil)
2. Newspaper (shredded newspaper can also be spread over garden soil. The moist pulp will naturally decompose over time)
3. Garden clippings (grass is easily decomposed and looks gorgeous when used as mulch)
4. Straw (cheap and easy to come by, straw may be one of the oldest types of mulch used around the world)
5. Regular compost (leaves, tree barks, fruit peelings, vegetable peelings… anything that comes from nature can go into a compost pit)
Benefits of using mulch
Using garden mulch has its own set of benefits. Let’s go through the benefits one by one:
1. Shredded barks – mulches acquired from the barks of fallen trees are excellent for keeping the soil around live trees moist and fairly cool. This type can also be used for low-lying shrubs.
Use this type of mulch around areas where you won’t be doing too much landscaping in the coming months – because you would then have to move the shredded barks around to make way for new garden decorations, lighting, plants, etc.
2. Animal manure – animal manure is an excellent source of plant nutrients. Be sure to compost the animal manure well before using it on your plants.
This type of mulch is considered a ‘side dressing’ and should be applied sparingly. Fresh or partially composted manure can poison plants because of its acidity. The composted manure should be clean and should not have weeds.
3. Garden clippings – are you having a persistent problem with weeds? Never fear, garden clippings are here! Clipped grass is one of the best preventive measures against weeds. Spread this mulch over garden beds and see how it effectively prevents the growth of troublesome weeds.
4. Shredded newspapers – one of the most practical applications of shredded newspapers is keeping plant roots cool and moist during transfers. When a plant is in temporary storage (e.g. in a truck headed for another city), newspaper also keeps the soil temperature constant.
5. Composted leaves – leaves are the most popular choice when it comes to mulching because it’s everywhere and it costs nothing to collect leaves in a compost pit and harvest the ‘black gold’ after a few months.
This type of mulch can be placed on garden beds just before the winter months roll in. During the colder months of the year, the mulch will continue to protect the soil and decompose, keeping the nutrient balance in the soil to an optimum level.