• [36] Colored mulch can be applied anywhere non-colored mulch is used (such as large bedded areas or around plants) and features many of the same gardening benefits as traditional
    mulch, such as improving soil productivity and retaining moisture.

  • [37] As mulch decomposes, just as with non-colored mulch, more mulch may need to be added to continue providing benefits to the soil and plants.

  • Materials that are free of seeds are ideally used, to prevent weeds being introduced by the mulch.

  • [27] These mulch films may be a bit more permeable allowing more water into the soil.

  • [11] However, mulch can also prevent water from reaching the soil by absorbing or blocking water from light rains and overly thick layers of mulch can reduce oxygen in the

  • Woodchip mulch is often used under trees, shrubs or large planting areas and can last much longer than arborist mulch.

  • Wood chip mulches on the top of the soil increase nutrient levels in soils and associated plant foliage, contrary to the myth that wood chip mulch tie up nitrogen.

  • Uses Many materials are used as mulches, which are used to retain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, suppress weed growth, and for aesthetics.

  • It can also lower the pH of the soil surface, making it useful as a mulch under acid loving plants.

  • Fresh green grass clippings are relatively high in nitrate content, and when used as a mulch, much of the nitrate is returned to the soil, conversely the routine removal of
    grass clippings from the lawn results in nitrogen deficiency for the lawn.

  • They are often used to mulch trails, because they are readily produced with little additional cost outside of the normal disposal cost of tree maintenance.

  • [27] These also can be placed by machine or hand but it is ideal to have a more starchy mulch that will allow it to stick to the soil better.

  • It may be applied to bare soil or around existing plants.

  • [20] Mulch made with wood can contain or feed termites, so care must be taken about not placing mulch too close to houses or building that can be damaged by those insects.

  • The dyes currently used by the mulch and soil industry are similar to those used in the cosmetic and other manufacturing industries (i.e., iron oxide)”, as stated by the Mulch
    and Soil Council.

  • Layers two or three inches deep are usually used, bark is relativity inert and its decay does not demand soil nitrates.

  • [13] However, additional labour is expended when planting through a mulch containing a cardboard/newspaper layer, as holes must be cut for each plant.

  • These are best used as a base layer upon which a heavier mulch such as compost is placed to prevent the lighter cardboard/newspaper layer from blowing away.

  • [41] On-site production Owing to the great bulk of mulch which is often required on a site, it is often impractical and expensive to source and import sufficient mulch materials.

  • Some mulches such as straw, peat, sawdust and other wood products may for a while negatively affect plant growth because of their wide carbon to nitrogen ratio,[18] because
    bacteria and fungi that decompose the materials remove nitrogen from the surrounding soil for growth.

  • [12] In order to maximise the benefits of mulch, while minimizing its negative influences, it is often applied in late spring/early summer when soil temperatures have risen
    sufficiently, but soil moisture content is still relatively high.

  • An alternative to importing mulch materials is to grow them on site in a “mulch garden” – an area of the site dedicated entirely to the production of mulch which is then transferred
    to the growing area.

  • [4] They are applied to the soil surface,[5] around trees, paths, flower beds, to prevent soil erosion on slopes, and in production areas for flower and vegetable crops.

  • [39] Groundcovers (living mulches) Groundcovers are plants which grow close to the ground, under the main crop, to slow the development of weeds and provide other benefits
    of mulch.

  • [10] The effect of mulch upon soil moisture content is complex.

  • Plants low to the ground or freshly planted are the most susceptible, and phytotoxicity from the produced chemicals may prevent germination of some seeds.

  • Thick layers of entire leaves, especially of maples and oaks, can form a soggy mat in winter and spring which can impede the new growth of lawn grass and other plants.

  • It should be placed on a day which is not too hot and with less tension than other synthetic mulches.

  • Use takes into consideration availability, cost, appearance, the effect it has on the soil—including chemical reactions and pH, durability, combustibility, rate of decomposition,
    how clean it is—some can contain weed seeds or plant pathogens.

  • When used around soft stemmed plants, an unmulched zone is left around the plant stems to prevent stem rot or other possible diseases.

  • However, if mulch is faded, spraying dye to previously spread mulch in order to restore color is an option.

  • [28] This mulch may require other sources of obtaining water such as drip irrigation since it can reduce the amount of water that reaches the soil.

  • [27] This source of mulch requires less manual labor since it does not need to be removed at the end of the season and can actually be tilled into the soil.

  • [13] However, permanent mulch is also widely used and valued for its simplicity, as popularized by author Ruth Stout, who said, “My way is simply to keep a thick mulch of
    any vegetable matter that rots on both sides of my vegetable and flower garden all year long.

  • [41] Mulch gardens should be sited as close as possible to the growing area so as to facilitate transfer of mulch materials.

  • [29] This mulch is placed on top of the soil and can be done by machine or hand with pegs to keep the mulch tight against the soil.

  • This happens when material with ample nitrogen content is not rotated often enough and it forms pockets of increased decomposition.

  • Microorganisms in the soil break down the mulch into two components, water and carbon dioxide, leaving no toxic residues behind.

  • When this occurs, the process may become anaerobic and produce phytotoxic materials in small quantities.

  • Tree branches and large stems are rather coarse after chipping and tend to be used as a mulch at least three inches thick.

  • This method is predominant in large-scale vegetable growing, with millions of acres cultivated under plastic mulch worldwide each year.


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