Gardening

Mulch

Surely you have ever worked or seen the mulch. Since you were little they teach you that mulch is essential for the organic matter in the soil and that it serves as a compost. Nothing is further from reality, mulch is a type of organic fertilizer that offers exceptional characteristics to the soil on which it is poured, which helps not only to improve the quality of crops, but also to improve the structure of the soil and the nutrients that plant receives. If you have ever used mulch or want to start using it, here we are going to tell you the most important aspects to take into account.

Do you want to learn more about mulch? Keep reading

Main features

The mulch has several benefits for the soil where it is fertilized since it improves the quality of the nutrients that the plants obtain and, therefore, they grow with better quality. There is no better contribution than a natural fertilizer and that we can find it in nature itself. It helps prevent the growth of weeds and this, along with the rest of the benefits, reduces labor and maintenance tasks in gardens and orchards where there are crops.

The main characteristic of mulch is the increase in organic matter it provides in the soil. As it has a texture loaded with nutrients and more compacted, it is able to retain water in the soil and not allow it to harden from the heat it suffers in summer. When rainfall decreases and heat increases in summer, the most normal thing is that the soil ends up compacting since it does not have any water input. This drying causes a change in the texture and hinders both the extension and growth of the roots and the incorporation of nutrients to the plant.

Mulch manages to avoid these situations by retaining water and moisture. It is essential for those plants that need a moist substrate most of the time. It could be said that, in a general way, the mulch manages to improve all aspects of the soil to increase its quality and its value for the crop.

Advantages of using mulch

With its use, various advantages are obtained that we summarize here:

  • Keeps moisture in the substrate. This is essential for plants that require continuous moisture. In this way we do not have to worry so much about watering and keeping the substrate moist since the mulch will do it for us.
  • Maintains a better temperature. One of the most difficult factors in keeping crops healthy is the change in temperature. Depending on the climate in which we find ourselves, the season of the year and the weather that exists at the time, we can run into temperatures that affect the crops. Mulch helps create a kind of microclimate to regulate the temperature and makes it cooler in summer and warmer in winter. In this way, we have the temperature regulated so that the crops do not suffer these sudden changes.
  • During the winter time it helps that frost does not reach the roots and weaken them or end up killing the plant.
  • It helps us to have fewer weeds in the field.
  • Its decomposition is very slow, so the contribution of nutrients is progressive and not instantaneous. It is perfect for plants to use their nutrients little by little as they are needed.
  • It prevents the substrate from compacting by retaining water.

When should it be used?

Mulch is used today on numerous crops and types of soil. It is perfect for enriching the poorest and most degraded soils. Thanks to its contribution of extra organic matter and its help in the retention of water and humidity, the most degraded soils can support more vegetation to, little by little, restore the ecological values ​​that they had before.

Mulch is also good to help with contamination issues, although it requires a study of soil conditions first. Many people wonder what is the optimal use of mulch to improve the quality of crops. The best time to apply it is the late spring and early summer season. At this time of year, the substrate begins to notice the increase in temperatures and the arrival of the harsh and dry summer. Therefore, the ideal is to use it on a soil that is humid so that the absorption of nutrients is full.

Mulch is the nutrient supply of the soil and you will need some maintenance tasks such as turning the soil from time to time to avoid the appearance of pests. In addition, removing the mulch on a regular basis helps us aerate the soil.

Types of mulch

There is not only one type of mulch, but there are several. Each type of mulch is adjusted to the soil conditions in which it works much better. Let’s see the different types of mulch and the characteristics of each one:

  • Earth mulch. They are those that are composed of meadow grass and look like the soil of a garden. They are able to retain water quite well and are recommended for areas that have trees and shrubs.
  • Mulch for ericaceae. This type of mulch is perfect for those soils that have a very low pH. In calcareous soils they are very useful to improve the adaptation of many plants.
  • Commercial mulches. These are made from cacti and other alpine plants. Being composed in a commercial way, they have a large amount of gravel that serves to have good drainage in the soil. It works very well in more compacted soil whose drainage and aeration is deteriorated.
  • Mulch without soil. They are composed of peat and, having no soil, they are quite light and clean. They have less nutrients than the previous ones, but it is perfect for those plants that do not last long.

As you can see, mulch is a special fertilizer that must be added to the soil to obtain all its benefits.

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