As a natural ground cover, mulching helps stop the proliferation of weeds, meaning less back breaking work for you.
Mulching adds a protective layer to your soil, and encourages improved soil health and fertility by shielding soil from the sun. Most of the little critters doing all the good work in your soil, from bacteria and fungi to earthworms and beneficial protozoa and nematodes, are adversely affected or killed by too much solar radiation. This means less of the good helpers in your soil, which are a direct benefit to your garden’s health. A decline in soil fertility can actually set up the conditions for weeds to flourish, since they are more adapted to poor soils and grow very quickly.
Mulch helps to maintain stable surface and soil temperatures for your plants during very hot and cold periods. This helps your plants to be less stressed during our hot, long summers, and helps prevent them dying during one of our winter cold snaps.
A layer of mulch greatly improves water retention in your garden, preventing water from running off or evaporating from your soil, and saving you money on irrigation. It also helps to slow soil erosion during large rain events.
- In cases of plant-based materials, mulch slowly breaks down into nutrients and humus that are available for later plant use. This is what already occurs in natural ecosystems, and is vital to long-term soil health.
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