Benefits of Mulching | Tips on Mulching Grass Clippings

by | Nov 15, 2020

Benefits of mulching

When starting to cultivate your interest in gardening, you will constantly be looking for ways to improve your plants. You could be curious if getting dirty from handling the mulch is worth it. Well, you have searched in the right place at the right time as well. In this post, I’ll be taking you through the benefits of mulching. And this will not be completed if I neglect the inclusion of materials that can be used to mulch. I’ll include all the handy information for you to go through it.

Mulching is your pal when conserving or retaining a substantial quantity of water within the soil. It functions as a cosy blanket that traps water molecules by reducing exposure to evapotranspiration agents, such as wind and sunlight. Mulch also acts as an evaporation retarder, which prevents the sun from drawing up a lot of soil moisture—good news to lazy bones out there.

You will be required to water your plants less frequently. This implies that the time you would have otherwise spent watering will be vacant for other vital things you need to take care of. Finally, mulching is incredibly helpful on those hot, dry days in which it prevents your plant from looking all frail from the relentless sun triggered wilting.

Protects Soil From Erosion

soil erosion

Mulch effectively retards runoff by interception. It also absorbs the heavy thudding blows from raindrops. This means that the soil in your plant’s surrounding radius will effectively be protected from erosion. Mulch also functions as a barrier to protecting against the likes of wind erosion. Just make sure it is not too light for a light breeze to blow it away. The benefits of mulching now entice you, right?

Reduces Weed Growth Around Your Plant’s Radius

Won’t it encourage weed growth? No worries effectively prevent sufficient light from reaching over to the ground, thus discouraging weed growth. Remember, light is a precious resource to plants and is needed for photosynthesis. The mechanism is similar to the Amazon rain forest’s canopy effect in which undergrowth is prohibited due to insufficient light reaching the ground.

Since weeds compete with your plants for water and nutrients, their elimination will prevent such a scenario. Furthermore, you will get a low presence of uninvited guests, namely pests. This is because weeds tend to harbor pests that pose a threat to your beloved plants.

Moderates Soil Temperature

Your plants would also benefit from mulching by having the soil retaining its warmth on cold nights. During the day, the mulch permits adequate heat for the soil, which then warms up in temperature. As the cold night approaches, the mulch would act as an insulation barrier, which prevents the heat from getting lost.

Otherwise, in the absence of this heat, sufficient cellular activity is inhibited. Winter mulching also protects tender plants or new plants that may not make it through winter owing to frost. However, if the soil’s substantial temperature is retained, make the mulch deeper ( 3 to 4 inches).

Helps With Soil Fertility

The organic mulch which you provide silently imparts some fertility to the soil as it rots. An example of such a mulch is hay. This improves the soil structure and water holding capacity too. The rate at which this goes on depends mainly on the type of mulch you provide because organics decompose at different rates.

The presence of moisture and air is also crucial here. So do not be puzzled when you see your plants greening up after mulching. Due to this, the other indirect benefits of mulching you will attain have to do with saving money. In other words, no more spending that much on plant feeds like fertilizers. Time usually spend on applying the same feeds would also be a thing of the past.

Encourages Essential Soil Life

Mulch’s ability to conserve moisture invites essential life forms like earthworms to seek refuge in the soil. Earthworms burrow through the soil, creating a system of channels. These channels are essential for gaseous root exchange with the outside atmosphere. They also improve the rate at which water infiltrates through the soil where deeply embedded roots need it. On the other hand, Termites are invited by the presence of organic matter, which they feed on. They then produce waste, which in turn nourishes the soil. Mulch thus creates a self-made sustainable mini-ecosystem.

Prevents Soil Crusting

Too much drying up of the topper most soil layer creates a hard surface crust that does not permit ease of water infiltration. Thus by mulching, the rapid drying up of this layer is retarded, so that surface crusting is prevented. Additionally, the soil benefits from mulching because the organic matter imparted by decomposing mulch improves the soil structure as well as the water holding capacity so that there won’t be rapid drying up. This cancels out surface crusting.

Warms Up The Soil In Spring

This allows the gardener to plant days or weeks before the soil would usually be ready. Early planting means that you would have an early harvest; who does not want to enjoy the fruit of his labor early?

Types of Mulch

The right mulch has to be dense enough to block weed growth yet light and open enough to allow free water movement to the soil. Some mulch is bought at gardening stores, but you can always source or prepare your own. Here are the types of mulch to try:

Organic Mulches

These are derived from the surrounding nature and include leaves, grass, and other plant material. Organic mulches are favored in terms of supplying nutrients through their slow decomposition. However, they need to be periodically replaced. Organic mulch can further be broken down into the following classes:

1.Compost

 This can either be readily available, or you can prepare yourself one. Making a compost heap is not a complex process. It simply requires you to include all the decomposable organics and some water for moisture, which speeds up the process.

2. Shredded or Chipped Bark

Either softwood or hardwood can be used for mulching. However, the benefits of mulching using softwood, besides the attractiveness, are that it breaks down slowly. On the other hand, hardwood bark breaks down quickly and needs to be adequately composted to avoid the sour mulch and nuisance fungi.

3. Shredded Leaves And Leaf Mold

These are readily available from trees. Dry leaves are the best since they are at a later stage of decomposing for soil nourishment. However, watch out for soil mating by these leaves, which reduces moisture and oxygen uptake. Avoid matted layers of wet leaves.

4.Straw And Salt Marsh Hay

These are readily available in most places. However, their drawback has to do with their harboring of rodents, especially mice and rats. They also need replacing periodically because of fast decomposition. Lastly, they easily get blown off in strong winds, leaving the soil exposed to wind erosion.

Inorganic Mulch

Inorganic mulch consists of material that breaks down slowly and not decomposes at all.  Here are some inorganic mulch you can use

1.Black Plastic Mulch

They are best for warming up the soil in spring; also, they reduce water losses. Black plastics will eliminate the need for periodic mulching. However, the drawback of using these has to do with the fact that they are impermeable to water. More so, plastics tend to break down over time due to exposer to the sun. Additionally, the black body effect easily leads to a rise in temperature above the required one. This does damage to your plants.

2. Silver Plastic Mulch

This one does a better job of warming up the soil compared to black plastics. In summer, the use of transparent plastics leads to quite hot soil, which can damage the plants. Thus there is a need for shading to avoid this.

3. Crushed Stone, Gravel, Marble or Brick Chips

 This type of mulch is more inclined on the aesthetic side. It is more of a permanent mulch owing to uneasiness in moving it. However, they (marble and brick chips) are generally more expensive, so that proper planning is required if you are to start using them. 

Furthermore, crushed stone can quickly found its way onto your lawn, clunk! Does that sound familiar? That is the sound of the mower’s blade that just hit a stone from the mulch. I don’t need to explain to you just how dangerous such an incident is. Concerning dealing with weeds, this mulch does a bad job.

4. Landscape Mulch

It deals with weeds the best by smothering them while allowing air, water, and fertilizer to reach the soil—no need to worry about the periodic replacement of this mulch because it is treated to resist decomposition.

In Conclusion

Don’t discard those leaves or dead straw you find lying around like an organic nuisance. Instead, use the dead organic material to make mulch for your garden or that little potted plant by the window. Also, pay particular attention to proper timing mulching, especially with the onset of winter, which requires mulching late fall. With the benefits you get from mulching, namely, moisture retention, maintenance of optimal niche temperature, and growth of essential soil organisms, mulch is the way to improve your plants!

Kazi Taslim

Kazi Taslim

Editor

Poweredgrip ensures an expert team of writers, to provide you with excellent informational and unbiased content. We are dedicated to giving you much smoother and best up to date information. We share the incomparable tricks, tips that give you awareness and confidence for making your buying decision. We are a very enthusiastic, dedicated and hard worker. Kazi Taslim is the Author and Editor of our experienced writing team.

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