Organic Weed Control Methods ~ Mulching

trudi_dJanuary 1, 2013

Organic Weed Control Methods ~ Mulching

What is Mulch?"

Mulch is a protective covering (such as of bark chips, compost, or grass clippings) overlaid on the ground.

Mulch reduces the moisture loss from the soil by preventing evaporation from sunshine and desiccating winds.

Mulch prevents erosion by eliminating or reducing the "splash-away" effect of torrential downpours.

Mulch helps regulate soil temperature by shading it in the summer thus keeping it cooler and helps insulate it in the winter from chilling winds. This temperature regulating effect helps encourage the root growth of plants.

Mulch helps to keep fruit clean (such as strawberries and tomatoes) by reducing muddy splash-ups during rainstorms.

Mulch controls weed growth by smothering seedlings, prevents daylight which helps foster germination from reaching weed seeds, and prevents air-borne seeds from taking hold in the soil surface.

Mulch helps prevent damage to trees and bushes by protecting their stems and surface roots from damage by mechanical garden tools such as weed whackers, edgers, and lawn mowers. Mulch helps prevent soil compaction by providing a cushion to walk upon. Walking on bare soil will compact it reducing its aeration and ability to drain.

Mulch provides a more unified and tidy appearance to flower beds and borders.

Mulch helps reduce yardwaste disposal and cash outlay. If you utilize your own yard wastes by chipping pruned branches and limbs, make your own compost, or use grass clippings and raked fallen leaves for mulch you won't have to bag and haul them to the curb for collection or pay for their disposal, you won't utilize land-fill space, and you'll keep your wallet in your pocket because the mulch you create is free.

Mulch enriches the soil as it breaks down and releases nutrients back into the ground. Mulch, if not already decomposed, will encourage microbial organisms which are beneficial to healthy plants.

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"What are some common mulches?"

Chipped hardwood bark mulch: Is readily available for home-owners from township landfills. It is made from ground and/or chipped trees. It is often free or available at a low cost. The downside of chipped bark mulch from municipalities is that it may contain bark from diseased trees. Compost it for a year before using it in your garden. Before you apply the aged bark mulch topdress your garden soil with fertilizers high in nitrogen such as blood-meal, cottonseed-meal, manure, or guano.

Softwood bark mulch: Made from pine, fir, or redwood, is available in many different sizes. It is long lasting and excellent for use in foundation plantings.

Compost: Is an excellent mulch that you can make at home by composting various yardwastes such as leaves, grass clippings, plants and soft-wood bush prunings, coffee grounds, and non-animal kitchen wastes. Partially decomposed composted material is one of the most nutrient rich mulches...

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