What is mulching?
A layer of material applied to the surface of an area of soil.It is usually but not exclusively organic in nature. It may be permanent (e.g. plastic sheeting) or temporary (e.g. bark chips).
Type of Organic Mulching
– Wood chips
– Shredded bark
– Tofu byproduct
– Sugar cane pulp
– Grass clippings
– coconut fiber
– Egg shells
– Anything organic that is dry
Organic mulching is well-known to provide various benefits to soil and plant health. The soil-microorganisms need organic material to function well. Microorganisms will break down the organic material and make it usable to your plants.Organic mulch can also
– Improve soil fertility and soil health
– Improves soil aeration and soil structure
– Conserve moisture
– Minimize weed competition when applied more than 2 inches deep
– Reduce maintenance cost
– As part of a landscape design
– Reduce reflection and re-radiation of heat and hence moderate extremes in surface soil temperature
– Protect the top soil from soil erosion or soil compaction
How to apply mulch?
1. Select suitable mulch
2. Rake the soil under the driplinearea properly
3. The mulch should be 3-4 inches deep
4. A circle of mulch which covers an area at least 4 times the diameter of the root ballshould be applied (mulch out to the dripline if possible)
5. Keep mulch a minimum of 3 to 6 inches away from the trunks of young trees and shrubs, and 8 to 12 inches away from mature tree trunks. Avoid making a mulch volcano.
6. Rake the existing mulch thoroughly and regularly, especially before adding new mulch, to avoid the formation of hydrophobic mulch layer
7. Regularly adding additional mulch to keep the desired 3 to 4-inch depth
Points to be noticed
– Over-mulching related problems including fungal disease, pest, suffocation, girdling root/trunk, etc.
– Hydrophobic mulches: When mulches are applied too deeply, fungi may colonize and form a water repellent mulch layer
– Mulch PH:And avoid using the acidic mulch (e.g. pine bark) if planting the alkaline-loving plant
– Temporary nitrogen deficiencies: Avoid using green or non-decomposed mulch which may cause temporary nitrogen deficiencies (temporary depletion of soil nitrogen sources due to the decomposition process by microorganism) due to the high C:N ratio and/or small particle size (<3/8 inches)