What is Mulch?

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Mulch refers to different types of materials that are placed around plants in order to increase or decrease the temperature of the soil, to facilitate the retention of the moisture, to aid with the reduction of the compaction of soil, and to lessen weeds. People can use different types of mulch depending on the aesthetic appeal and function that they want it to produce.

One common type of mulch is the organic mulch, which is beneficial because it can add nutrients to the soil as it undergoes decomposition. Since organic mulches decompose, they are needed to be reapplied after certain periods of time. Some examples of this type of mulch include nut shells, bark, leaves, grass clippings, compost, seed hulls, newspapers, and cardboards.

Another type is called inorganic mulches, which functions similarly with organic mulches, but does not add nutrients to the soil. Inorganic mulches may come in the form of black plastics, gravel, and fabric. Lastly, there is also a type of mulches called living mulches, which can be used if the other types are not preferred.

Mulches can be used around shrubs or trees, and must be applied for not more than 4 inches deep. Another rule for the application of mulches is that they must always be kept around 1 inch away from the stems or the main stem of the plant. Additionally, it is important to remember not to pile it over the top of the vegetation or against the trunk of the tree. It is recommended to apply mulch in the whole area, if plants and trees are placed in planting beds. On the other hand, for trees or other plants that are placed on lawns, there must be a ring with a measurement of 3-6 feet, extending out from the trunk or base.

Mulches can be added during the spring season in order to reduce the weeds and lower the temperature of the soil over the summer season. Alternatively, it can be applied during the fall season in order to increase the temperature of the soil over the winter season.