Mulch is a powerful gardening tool many beginners tend to overlook. Aside from benefiting the health of your plants drastically, it can also protect your garden from pests, diseases, and weeds that can quickly put your efforts and money to waste.
Additionally, mulch is excellent for the environment, so you’ll be reducing your carbon footprint when you use it. If you’d like to know more, this article will discuss the top 9 benefits of using mulch in your garden and how to use it in various situations to save your plants from the elements.
What is Mulch?
Mulch is any material that is broken down and added overtop of garden soil. It can consist of organic, biodegradable materials, such as leaves, grass clippings, wood chips, tree bark, or even paper. Inorganic mulch is not biodegradable and can be recycled tire rubber, plastic materials, fabrics, or even rocks. Throughout the growing season, you should keep mulch handy, especially for emergency use when there’s going to be a frost. Mulch supply and delivery in Everett, PA, will bring it straight to your door and keep you stocked up.
Reasons to Utilize Mulch
Listed below are some of the most common reasons that you should use mulch in your garden – although there can be additional rationale.
1. Prevents Weeds
Weeds can be a menace. They steal essential nutrients and water from your plants and are not a good look for your garden. But when you add mulch, it can stop weed seeds from making it to the soil. In addition, it blocks sunlight from reaching the ones already in the ground, preventing them from germinating. Lastly, it helps keep your garden as natural as possible – eliminating the number of chemical sprays used to keep weeds at bay.
2. Regulates Soil Temperature
Drastic temperature changes can severely damage your plants. However, a healthy layer of mulch can help regulate the temperature of the soil, protecting them from both frost and extreme heat. It also acts like a blanket or a shield for the earth, so the soil doesn’t harden from getting excessively dry.
3. Provides Nutrients for Plants
Mulch can provide essential nutrients to the soil over time as it decomposes – keeping your plants healthy and providing a quality harvest. However, if you lay too much over the ground, it could suffocate the roots beneath or block water from reaching the soil. So you should be all set with 1-3 inches of mulch.
4. Prevents Nutrient Loss
On top of providing nutrients to the soil, mulch can prevent nutrients from seeping out – especially if you are using an irrigation system. Therefore, by keeping the ground in top condition, you’ll save time and money on fertilizer and provide a hefty harvest.
5. Provides Support
Extreme winds can damage young sprouts easily. However, mulch can support small plantlings, making them more resilient to the elements in their most acute stages. Just make sure you leave a small area around the base of the plant or wherever it will sprout, so you don’t block water from reaching the seeds and roots or potentially cut down the room for outward growth.
6. Prevents Pests and Plant Disease
The ground can often carry diseases that infect an entire garden, effectively ruining your hard work. Infection usually happens during excessive rainfall, when water and diseased soil splash onto the leaves of your plants. By adding mulch, you prevent the disease from infecting the water in the first place when it splashes off the ground.
7. Mulch can be Eco-Friendly.
Using organic mulch can prevent yard waste in landfills and add nutrients to the soil. Therefore, besides protecting your garden, you’re also reducing your carbon footprint. Next time your buddy has leftover wood, or you have bags upon bags of leaves from fall, turn them into mulch to reduce your waste and keep things natural.
Conversely, if you use inorganic mulch, you won’t need to replace it as often. However, remember that if you use inorganic mulch, plastic types are incredibly harmful to the environment as it decomposes.
8. Mulch Makes Your Garden Look Nice
Many people assume mulch is only for aesthetics as it can dramatically change your garden’s look. They also don’t realize how much soil can shift and splash in heavy rainfall. There’s nothing worse than coming outside after a nice rain and seeing soil all over the foliage and patio. Mulch acts as a barrier between the ground and the elements to protect your plants and keep your garden looking neat.
9. Protects Bare Soil in the Winter
Bare soil can erode or become compact when left unattended for long periods in the winter months. By adding a layer of mulch, you create a barrier against the cold and snow, keeping the soil below fresh and in excellent condition.
Mulch is known as a gardener’s best friend for a good reason. Many people think it’s optional, especially beginners trying to save money and cut corners. However, it’s more of a necessity with the benefits it possesses. On top of bringing a neat aesthetic to your garden, mulch protects your plants and soil from extreme temperature changes, disease, and weeds. You’re also doing the Earth a favor when you use organic mulch that leaves nutrients behind as it decomposes. Plus, it can make gardening far more manageable for those just starting.