Mulch is an organic or inorganic substance, which is applied on the top layer of the soil, to make it more fertile. It is necessary if you want to keep your plants striving and soil happy. Mulch provides the much-needed nourishment to your plants and if properly applied, can give a landscape a well groomed appearance as well. However before you start the mulching process, it is better to get the answers to some of the most common questions, which often come to your mind when you think 'how to mulch a garden'. Most of them have been answered below.
Mulching Your Garden
Why Is It Necessary?
Mulch is necessary to cool the soil and keep it moist. Good mulch should be able to reduce the watering needs and protect the soil and the plants from extreme heat. Any garden mulch, if applied properly, will reduce soil erosion and cut down on weeds as well. It provides nourishment to the plants and eases the application and maintenance. It binds the water and oxygen to the soil, aerates it and thus, reduces the work of a gardener. It insulates the root zone of plants and keeps them in good shape. Most importantly, it reduces the time spent in watering, fighting pests and weeding.
When To Mulch?
The time of applying mulch would depend on what you want to achieve in the garden. In general, early spring is not the right time to add mulch, as it is the time when the soil needs to warm up and mulching this time will actually delay the plant growth. Mulch helps the soil moderate winter temperature and can be applied before the ground has frozen i.e. in late fall. You can mulch in high summer as well, to keep the soil cooler.
How Much Mulch To Use?
Using a tape, measure the length and width of your garden. In addition, know how deep you want to spread the mulch. If your plants are deeply rooted, you may go for 2-3 inches depth. However, for a general garden, one-inch deep mulch would be enough. You can either use the mulch calculator for easy math or ask the salesperson about it. This will help you buy the exact amount you need and also rule out the possibility of any damage, done unintentionally. Add about three inches of mulch every year.
What Type Of Mulch Is Needed?
There are different types of mulches and you need to apply them keeping in mind the soil needs of your garden. The most common types of mulches are straw and hay mulches, partially composted leaves and barks, stone mulch, black plastic mulch, shredded wood chips, pine straw mulches, saw dust and black mulches, etc.
How To Apply The Mulch?
Keep the mulch two to three inches away from the plants root, as it keeps the soil moist and may start to rot some stems and roots and act detrimental. Don’t add too much mulch; never go for more than six inches deep mulch. Use a steel bow to spread the mulch. Wear gloves, if you want to spread it by hand. Make sure that the mulch is spread evenly on the ground. It should be loosely applied and should not, in any case, be tamped down.