Soil mulching: methods and technology

Soil mulching: methods and technology

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Most summer residents use various agricultural techniques that are of great importance during spring or autumn tillage.

One of the simplest and most effective ways is mulching. This is an important event of complex action, which is impossible to do without.


  • Mulching: what is it
  • How can you mulch the soil
  • Mulching the soil: features

Mulching: what is it

Mulching is commonly understood to mean covering the topsoil under trees, plants or vegetables.

This procedure is performed in open areas of the soil using organic fertilizer (material). Subsequently, these materials rot under the influence of various microorganisms, and humus is formed in the soil.

A layer of mulch maintains the optimum temperature and humidity for the plant.

Mulching is used to:

  • Enrichment of poor soil
  • Conservation of moisture in the ground
  • Improving the nutrition of vegetables and plants
  • Improvements to the air-gas regime
  • Protecting the root system from adverse factors
  • Containment of soil washes on the slope of the site

This agrotechnical technique, actively used in vegetable gardening, protects crops from pollution, creates a breeding ground for earthworms. This method allows you to significantly save the gardener's time and get rid of weeding.

How can you mulch the soil

There are three main ways of distributing the mulch layer in the soil:

  • Covering with covering material
  • Application of organic materials
  • Compost use

When choosing one of these methods, it is necessary to take into account the type of soil, as well as climatic factors.

The most popular mulching materials are bark, wood chips, pruned branches, cones, etc.

They do not completely protect against weeds. Unlike other types of material, the bark quickly absorbs moisture on a rainy day, and releases it evenly in the summer.

Pine or spruce needles can help protect strawberries, strawberries and some vegetables.

Other organic materials that are used as a mulch layer include:

  • Cut grass
  • Straw
  • Fallen leaves
  • Small shavings
  • Mature compost
  • Paper or cardboard
  • Peat

Freshly cut grass for mulching is undesirable. Dry the grass before covering the soil. If this is not done, then various pests may appear.

If sawdust was chosen as the mulch layer, then they should be pre-mixed with nitrogen and resin.

They begin to sweat and take these necessary elements from the soil. It is recommended to use such material for garden or berry crops. It is desirable to mix straw with nitrogen.

Experienced gardeners combine mulch and instead of one material, use two or three.

Artificial materials can be used as mulch.

Among the covering materials, black film, roofing felt, roofing felt, lutrasil, pebbles, expanded clay, crushed stone are popular among gardeners.

Unlike organic mulch, man-made materials do not contain nutrients and cannot form humus.

Film mulching technology: cover the black or colored film on the beds and make small holes in it. Then pour it well with water and plant the seedlings in the prepared slots.

It is not recommended to use white film or other transparent materials for mulching. They are not able to contain the growth of weeds.

Benefits of using black coating:

  • Reduces moisture evaporation
  • Saves from heat, cold, drought
  • No soil crust forms
  • Eliminates compaction of the earth by precipitation

The disadvantages of artificial material include: it does not have the ability to restrain overheating in extreme heat, the film may decompose with frequent heating. To avoid this, the film can be covered with straw or hay on top.

Many gardeners use colored sheeting: tomatoes develop better under red cover, and cabbage under white cover.

Pebbles and expanded clay are used as decorative covering material. They do not rot and do not lose their appearance for a long time.

Mulching the soil: features

They begin to spread the mulch in the spring, when the soil is well warmed up and has not had time to lose moisture. It is necessary to check the soil: if the soil is dry, then it should be watered.

Before spreading organic materials on the surface of the soil, it must be well prepared. For this, all debris, old leaves, branches, etc. are removed from the surface.

If there are weeds, the soil should be removed from them and, if necessary, sprayed with a special agent. After the soil is prepared and the mulching material is selected, you can proceed directly to the mulching technology.

When distributing mulch, consider the soil composition. It is not recommended to cover loamy soils with a thick layer of mulch.

The recommended soil layer is no more than 2 cm. On light soils, the mulching layer has a beneficial effect. Depending on the soil cover material used, the layer thickness varies during mulching.

The optimum thickness of a dense layer is 5 cm. For this, a covering material in the form of bark or sawdust is used. For a lighter layer, leaves, needles and other materials are used. In this case, the layer should be about 7-8 cm.

The mulch layer should not touch the tree trunk and plant stems. This should be taken into account when mulching the soil.

The mulching radius for shrubs should be at least 40-50 cm, and for trees - 70-80 cm.

You can use mulch throughout the season. In the summer, when the soil is loosened, the mulch layer is mixed with the ground, and in the autumn, during digging, it is embedded in the ground.

Video on how to properly mulch:

Watch the video: John McCarley Organic Gardening Cardboard Magic! (August 2022).