Mulch is a trendy product that protects, decorates and supports plant growth for all your plantations. A natural product, mulching is very beneficial to your plants and your garden, all the while reducing that most cumbersome of garden tasks: weeding!
Feel free to mulch, because more than just a decorative element, this also boasts nature-friendly and wallet-friendly benefits!
Mulch reproduces nature’s way of working: never should soil stay bare. Always keep it covered!
Advantages of mulching
Mulch is one of today’s most trendy products, and it isn’t only because it looks great!
- It is an excellent “weeding agent” because it hinders weed growth.
Thanks to the thick opaque layer that mulch forms on the soil surface, it prohibits weed seed germination and thus indirectly avoids the use of herbicides – all of which are chemical-based.
- It is an amazing protection against winter frost spells and freezing cold!
A layer barely 1?to?2 inches (3?to?4?cm) thick is enough to protect roots from freezing, especially for potted plants.
It will keep the root system in top form to burst with life in spring.
- All plant-based mulches are a 100% natural fertilizer!
As they slowly break down, they will enrich the soil with important nutrients that will boost your plantation’s development.
- In avoiding water evaporation on hot summer days, you will save on watering and lighten the burden on the environment, which is pretty critical as regards water in the summer season.
There are 2 major types of mulch
- First type of mulch: Mineral mulch
Mineral mulch makes for an orderly, controlled garden. The mulch is mineral in the sense that it comes from rocks, gravel or other hard materials. It’s easy to choose striking colors. The appearance of the garden bed or pot will stay constant as time goes by.
- Second type of mulch: Plant-based mulch
This includes all types of mulch derived from plants. Abundant and renewable, these mulches always make the soil richer and plant-friendly as time passes. It must be renewed yearly or every two years, since it naturally breaks down with time. It provides nutrients and reduces the need for fertilizer.
Although not mulch in the actual sense, green manure is one way to perform the same functions as mulch, but only for a season.
You can make these yourself with a chipper-shredder from hedge trimmings or shrub pruning waste.
- Coronavirus lockdown gardening tip: waste must be kept in your garden since eco-centers and landfills are closed.
To sum it up
Each type of mulch has specific advantages. Mineral mulch excels at keeping weeds away. Plant-based mulch releases nutrients as it breaks down.
Quantities differ for each as well. For example, mineral mulch will usually require only 1 to 2 inches (3 to 5 cm) of mulch to be effective, whereas for plant-based mulch, the more the merrier! It’s even possible to stack up to a foot (30 cm) of plant material if you’re starting a growing bed in poor soil!
You’ll have understood by now that mulching boasts many advantages, and is among those products that can easily replace others that don’t necessarily respect our planet.
Mulch attracts birds in your garden
Since mulch creates a favorable environment within the ecosystem, such animals as worms, larvae, and insects will be attracted to it.
Birds will then come to feed on those.
Mulching thus enriches your garden’s ecosystem, and gives our bird friends a great nutritious pantry, especially in winter.
Some plants are not comfortable with mulch
Some plants actually suffer from the excessive moisture levels that are provided for by mulch, so there are precautions to consider when deciding where to mulch.
Among these mulch-rejecting plants are Mediterranean-native plants, that can benefit from some mulch during summer, but only a thin layer. Succulents or rock plants, need dry soil, sometimes even arid.
Smart tip about mulch
If you only have small batches of mulch material, you can pack it around a few plants and create a patchwork in your garden beds!
Mulch on social media
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Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pine bark mulch landscape (also on social media) by Florentaise
Mulch for pots and containers by Florentaise
Coconut fiber mulch by Florentaise
Mulch with strawberry plant (also on social media) by Rosalyn & Gaspard Lorthiois, own work