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Mulch – Types and Uses

Mulch is one of the best things to use together with topsoil if you are going to do some gardening. It doesn’t matter if you are planting trees, flowers, bushes, shrubs, fruits, or vegetables; using mulch is a big addition. What is mulch? Mulch is basically organic matter that has been ground up (mulched) and it is applied to the top soil. It can be made from bark, grass trimmings, trees, and sticks that have fallen from a tree, or even rocks.

Topsoil and Mulch

What does it do? Mulch stops the moisture in the topsoil from being dried out by the sun, as it creates a barrier that shelters the soil underneath from its bright rays. The moisture in the organic matter is itself ultimately dried out by the sun, but once it’s dry it protects the ground underneath by acting like a plastic greenhouse to keep the moisture trapped inside the barrier of organic matter.

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It is used in spring to stop weeds from growing, in summer time to shelter young plants and roots from the bright rays of the summer sun, and in winter to stop roots from being frozen when the temperature drops. It can also be used for cosmetic purposes, such as to change the color of your garden, or even to infuse the ground with nutrients that are desperately needed by young, growing plants.

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There are a few different types of mulch you can use. Hardwood bark is used to lock the moisture in the ground during summer; it helps to fight insects and fungi, infuses the ground with nutrients as it decays, and doesn’t steal nutrients from the ground. Cedar is mulched to prevent ground erosion, repel insects, and basically do everything the hardwood bark does. Pine bark washes away much more easily, which is one of the reasons that it is often used in soil for potted plants. Using composted brush and grass to make mulch can actually be harmful for the ground, as it promotes the growth of harmful fungi and invites insects to live in it. Crushed rock is also used, though mainly for cosmetic appeal.

Mulch is an important addition to your gardening, and your plants will thank you for using it to protect them against heat, fungi, and insects.

Related Resources:

Wikipedia – Mulch

NC State University Horticulture Fact Sheet

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One Response to Mulch – Types and Uses

  1. ndifreke on May 16, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    It was ok. Bravo