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Learning More about Mulching Mulching is the process of improving the soil around plants by using mulches, which are straw, wood chips, leaves and grass clippings, as well as giving your garden a neat, tidy appearance, and, at the same time, reduce the amount of time spent on watering and weeding. Mulches are either applied to the bare soil or to cover the surface of compost in plant containers. Since plants need constant watering for proper growth, retaining the water can be attained by using the process of mulching, which uses mulches to absorb the water. The function of mulches is to absorb water coming from rainfall and irrigation, as well as they slow down the evaporation of moisture from the soil. With improved water retention, the need for frequent irrigation is reduced and, therefore, plant watering can be spaced out longer so that water consumption is reduced. Slow erosion can also happen in mulching since it prevents the water from washing the soil out of the garden. Because mulch acts as an insulating layer to the soil, the effect is the temperature of the ground is almost maintained, and with that condition, applying mulch during spring and early summer can help control the soil temperature. As the temperature drops in the fall and winter, the mulch layer allows the soil to retain heat, and with that, the warm soil allows the plants to grow longer during those seasons, as well as protecting the plants’ roots from the harsh winter temperature.
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The layer of mulch prevents sunlight from reaching into the germinating weeds from the soil to grow and this in effect allows mulching to suppress the growth of unwanted weed in the plant beds and in the garden. On the other hand, when weed seeds land on top of the mulch, they aren’t able to root themselves deeply into the soil, making it impossible for them to continue growing.
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Organic mulch, like wood chips or leaves, when they decomposed are good source of added soil nutrients, which result into more food for the plants and organisms existing in the plant area which is covered by mulch. The decomposed mulch also improve the structure of the soil by adding space between the particles in the soil, such that the added space allows the roots to receive water, oxygen, and nutrients because the soil is not hard nor compact. While garden beds and borders can be entirely be covered with mulches, care must also be observed for low growing plants and against the stems of woody plants. The following procedure is the ideal way of applying mulches: first remove the weeds including the roots, moisten the soil, and apply the layer of mulch with a thickness between 5 cm and 7.5 cm.