Mulches are one of the most beneficial organic materials you can spread on your garden. Once applied, they will decay into organic matter — something that is essential to having healthy soil life and plant life.
Mulch also reduces the need for fertilisers and amendments and prevents the growth of weeds in your garden. It helps keep the soil evenly moist and protects the crowns of perennial plants from the harsh effects of winter. It also helps nurture the roots of trees and shrubs, prevents erosion, and keeps nutrients in place.
But even if mulches provide numerous benefits to plants and your garden soil, many people still have a lot of misconceptions about them. Here are the top five myths about mulches and the facts behind them:
- You can use pretty much anything as mulch.
Fact: Leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, straw, tree bark, and wood chips are just some of the most common items that can be used as mulch. However, you can’t just spread one or more of these items on your soil. The truth is, you will see great results when you select a specific type of mulch based on what’s been planted in your lawn. This is because different types of plants require different levels of alkalinity, water, and nutrients such as nitrogen and oxygen.
Below is a simple guide you can follow to correctly choose the right type of mulch to spread on your lawn:
- For vegetable gardens, use compost, grass clippings, shredded leaves and straw.
- For flowers and shrub beds, compost, fine tree bark, pine needles, and shredded leaves are more suitable.
- For trees and shrubs, mulch made from coarse tree bark is best.
- For plants that bear berries, use grass clippings and straw.
- Spreading excessive amounts of mulch is great for your soil and plants.
Fact: Many people think tall mulches mounded around trunks and stems of plants are good for them. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Tall mounded mulches invite a host of problems. They can stimulate above-ground “hair roots” on the trunk — something that isn’t good for the tree. They will also attract insects and rodents which may infest or gnaw trunks, which can then lead to the death of the plant. It can cause bark decay as well. The best way to mulch a tree or shrub is in a donut shape.
- Because of mulch, all the plants will grow and flourish faster even without extra care.
Mulch provide a lot of nutrients to your plants. However, they won’t grow on their own simply because they are covered with mulch. They will still need regular watering. In addition, they will also require compost and fertilisers from time to time. You will also have to remove weeds immediately if they come up. Remember to protect your plants from pests as well.
Due to the several benefits they provide to plants, mulches are gardening supplies that you should always have at hand.