We experienced one of the hottest seasons on record and your garden needs a bit more TLC than usual. We though we’ll provide more info and tips about how, when, where and why to use MULCH.
  

THE IMPORTANCE OF ORGANIC MULCH IN HOT AND DRY CLIMATES

The benefits of organic mulch have been written about extensively, particulaGrass Factory & Eco Organics Mulchrly with regard to weed prevention and water retention in hot weather. Less known perhaps is the role mulch plays inregulating the temperature at the soil’s surface. In hot and dry climates, exposed soil can reach temperatures of 50°C in the summer. In these hot conditions like we’re experiencing currently, not only do the plants directly suffer, but micro-biotic activity virtually ceases as well, thereby hindering the absorption of nutrients by the plants’ roots.

Furthermore, mulch prevents the excessive drying out of the soil at depths of 20 – 50cm, which is common in hotregions as a result of the cracks formed at the soil’s surface. Apart from reducing the loss of moisture through evaporation, the mulch layer, slows down the breakdown of organic matter (humus).

In conclusion iMulch 03t can be seen that feeding, composting and mulching are horticultural tasks that work together. The organic material releases small amounts of nutrient available for the plants to take-up, but it improves the soil in the short term and prevents it from degenerating in the long term. Organic mulch not only provides better conditions in which the plants grow, it also protects the top soil from the effects of sun, wind and rain, and further ensures that the soil will have a larger percentage of the organic matter so crucial to its health and the life it contains.

Can compost and mulch be used year round? It surely won’t hurt the plants to have their roots covered with mulch through the cold winter and hot summer months; in fact, it may help to insulate younger plants from the worst conditions. We therefore suggest using mulch and compost all year round.

 

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USING MULCH AND COMPOST IN THE SOIL OR AS POTTING MEDIA IS BENEFICIAL IN MANY WAYS –

• The improved supply of oxygen available to the plants’ roots in heavy, clay soils as a result of the crumbly soil structure that develops.
• The improved retention of water and nutrients in light, sandy soils.
• The enrichment of the micro-flora and fauna of the soil. The expanding quantity of micro-organisms and variety actually improves plant nutrition, because while plants absorb nutrients in the form of dissolved mineral salts, nutrient take-up is associated in many ways with the activity of microbes.
• The supplying of raw material to larger organisms such as earthworms to establish themselves in the garden. The earthworm is undoubtedly the greatest gardener in the world, which by its activitMulch 02ies, aerates the soil, improves its crumbly structure and causes nutrients to be released, thus increasing their availability. It should be noted that earthworm populations in the earth decline and disappear as more chemical fertilizer is used.
• The increasing range and volume of micro-biotic activity creates a healthier ecological balance in the soil. Consequently, pest and disease infestations are reduced to manageable proportions as the populations of pathogenic organisms are controlled.
• Birds and other wildlife are delighted by compost-rich beds that are also rich in worms and other creatures on which to feast.
  

HOW TO USE MULCH IN GARDENS

• Like most mulch, a thick layer is better than a thinner one to help shade out sunlight from emerging weeds. Add a 5 to 10 cm layer of compost over the soil around all your perennials, extending the layer outward about 30 cm from the plants. This layer will slowly work its way into the soil during the growing season, so add additional layers of compost mulch every month or so during the summer and autumn. But be careful not to pile mulch too thickly; roots need oxygen to breathe.
• Be sure to taper mulch, thinning out your application as you work toward the tree so the material does not touch the flare or trunk. When mulch is piled close to the trunk, it can trap moisture and cause splits and cankers. This can promote disease.
• Make sure the mulch “skirt” around the tree fits the plant size. Try to mulch out to the tree’s drip line, which is where the tree roots are competing with turf for water and nutrients in the soil.
• To re-mulch your landscape, only replace the mulch that has decayed. Mulch cultivation, or turning over existing mulch to create a fresh look, is also beneficial.

There is much ado about mulch this season, but too much mulch can harm your trees and deteriorate their health. Not only is excessive mulch unsightly, but also it can reduce roots’ oxygen intake and increase fungal growth and moisture.

 

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