Why Mulching is Important in Gardening

Why Mulching is Important in Gardening
Proper mulching of your garden and flower beds will help your garden thrive and make it even more attractive in the process. Mulching is the use of a biodegradable material that is used on or around garden beds. Other materials that are not biodegradable can be used but your plants will not receive as much benefit.

Moisture benefits
Using a mulching material around flowers, trees and shrubs will help retain the moisture in the ground. Water will not evaporate as quickly and you will need to water less often. When applying mulch, do not over do it. An inch or so of mulching material will be enough without becoming too much.

Weed reduction
The same layer of mulch that keeps moisture in will help to prevent weeds from growing. Seeds that do not get sunlight when they first start to germinate will not thrive as well as they do in uncovered ground. For decorative garden areas, the use of rocks and pebbles will work nicely. While a rock mulch will not provide nutrients, the weeds that do pop up will be easier to see and remove.

Added fertilizer
Biodegradable mulches provide additional nutrients to the soil as they decompose. Fallen leaves make a great mulch cover and provide extra nutrients to the soil over time. Composted materials that do not include any seeds are also a great choice for mulching. When using materials that break down quickly remember to replace them as needed.

In addition, a good layer of mulch will protect the roots of your plants from excessive heat during the summer. The same principle applies during colder winter months; a layer of mulch over year round plants will reduce freezing damage. Strawberries will benefit greatly from a good cover of leaves in the winter. When spring comes be sure to uncover the tender plants so they receive good sunlight. Hay or straw is also commonly used for covering strawberry or flower beds in winter.

Newspaper can also be used as a mulching material for winter cover and for a layer of weed protection under a garden bed. Wood chips make excellent mulch for decoration around trees and shrubs. Keep in mind that wood chips can be attractive to termites and should not be used to close to the foundation of a home. One of the other nice parts of mulching is that you do not really need to go out and purchase mulching materials. Gather leaves, wood chips and other biodegradable materials and make your own.