Did you know that Mulch reduces chances of soil erosion and also soil compaction? For all plant lovers and home gardeners, especially the new ones who have just started to discover the joys of planting and gardening, here’s a little one-on-one about how and when to use mulch.
To those looking to find out more about how you can improve your plant’s “living quarters” and make them more comfortable so they can grow up healthy and live long, happy lives, we have one question for you: Are you mulching?
Read on to know when and why you should mulch.
Let’s get this out of the way first; mulch is essentially what we put around the plant on top of the soil that we’ve cultivated for the plant’s care and growth. It can be organic like shredded leaves or bark, grass or synthetic like glass chips, rubber etc.
We suggest organic mulch; it is sustainable and adds to the soil by boosting fertility with deposits of chemicals that are good for plants.
Learn more about what mulch is here:
When To Use Mulch?
Everyone who knows about gardening will agree that mid to late springtime is mulching time but is this the only time to mulch. Many people suggest that mulching twice a year is beneficial in spring and autumn and will help you regulate water supply and keep the weeds away.
Some even suggest mulching all year round is possible. But, it will depend on what type of mulch you use and also the weather conditions.
If you want to mulch in the spring, the best time to do it is in the mid or late spring when the temperatures are starting to rise. The soil needs to increase its heat as well, and if you mulch too soon, you’re slowing down the process.
Also, while mulching in spring, you should apply a thin layer so that the seedlings can grow comfortably.
Depending on the depth of mulch you’ve added in spring, you can most definitely add more during the summer keeping in mind not to add too much. The additional mulch will help retain moisture during hot summer days.
In autumn, by adding mulch, you’ll be able to retain the heat and prepare your garden for the cold chilly winter. The roots of your plants will also be protected from frost.
You can mulch in winter if you notice that your autumn mulch is thinning or in case you want to create a sound barrier for heat retention. Applying it right after the first harsh frost is an excellent time to mulch during winter. You also don’t have to worry about your topsoil washing away in case it rains. Erosion is a significant issue during winter.
However, if you don’t want to mulch year-round, the optimal times are spring and autumn.
Why to Mulch?
Well, there are a few crucial elements mulching brings to the gardening scene.
- It retains moisture and will make sure your plants stay hydrated.
- It helps sustain the temperature of the soil. The mulch acts as insulation keeping temp levels balanced.
- The extra layer improves water and airflow, improving the quality of the soil. Mainly if the ground is a bit on the sandier side or if there are many clay deposits, mulch can help break the clay up.
- Another great use of mulch is it keeps the weeds at bay, and even if one or two show up, they can easily be extracted along with their roots, thanks to the added layer.
- It is also aesthetically pleasing and adds to the overall landscape of your garden or home.
Have you decided to go for organic Mulch as we suggested? If so,
- The more refined the mulch, the thinner the layer should be. 2-3 inches is primarily the depth of mulch you should add. Inorganic mulches can be kept to a depth of 1 inch.
- Prep the soil before you add the mulch. Remove weeds; make sure the soil is moist and not frozen.
- Gently lay your mulch using your tool of choice onto the area. You don’t have to pack it in once added.
- Rake the topsoil to even it out and make sure there are no dips or holes. Don’t forget to re-firm as needed.
- If you’re setting out areas for planting, you can add mulch to help with preparing the soil for when it’s time to plant.
- Remove access mulch from winter or the previous year gently if you want to add new mulch in spring, and the layer is too thick.
- If you are mulching trees or shrubs, leave a small gap between the mulch and stem to ensure the bark does not soften, leading to infections.
- If you’re going for aesthetics, use inorganic or synthetic mulch. If you want to boost nutrients in the soil, you should add organic mulch.
If you want to know the advantages and disadvantages of mulch, you must read Is Mulch Good For Gardens?
We hope you’ve gained some new ideas about when to mulch. Our suggestion is to do it twice a year and ensure that the layers are just the right thickness. If you over-mulch, you may end up killing your plants.
Again, we highly recommend using organic mulch; it’s biodegradable, will leave the soil healthier, and it is safe for the environment.
While mulching, one thing to keep in mind is that pests like snails and slugs may use it as a hiding place. You can always use wood ash or diatomaceous soil to keep the pests away. Mulching is an excellent way to enhance the soil condition of your garden, and it gives so many benefits to the