Many gardeners create a layer of mulch around the plants, shrubs, and trees. Mulch protects the roots of plants and trees from extreme temperatures, maintains the moisture, and nourishes the soil. There are many advantages of mulch for shrubs and trees. To understand the importance of mulch for the growth of trees, let us think of a forest.
The base of a forest is not like our home gardens and landscapes. If you visit a forest, its base is usually covered with dry leaves, twigs, and debris. All these organic materials decompose slowly by the action of air, water, and microorganisms. Mulch serves the same purpose for trees in our gardens. Let us explore the importance of mulch for the growth of trees.
Maintains the temperature
Fluctuations in temperature affect tree growth. Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can slow down the growth of trees in a garden. Mulch offers a layer of insulation for roots and protects them from the high and low temperatures of the outside environment.
It retains the moisture in the soil.
Mulch helps maintain the moisture in the soil. As it creates a layer of materials along with the roots, it protects the soil from heat and excessive evaporation. Moreover, it absorbs the access water from the soil and protects it from becoming soggy. Maintaining the moisture in the soil is important, especially if the trees are located in a dry climate.
It protects the soil from compaction.
Soil becomes compact when its particles get too close to each other, and the pore space reduces, leading to dense soil. The water does not evaporate or seep into the ground quickly when the soil is too compact. Mulch, whether organic or inorganic, reduces the compaction of soil by adding its particles and improves the drainage of water. When the water gets properly drained from the soil, it does not become compact that improves the health of roots and trees.
Adds nutrients to the soil
The organic types of mulches break down slowly and release their nutrients into the soil. The addition of organic matter and nutrients improves the fertility of the soil, which in turn helps improve the growth of trees. To achieve the best results, you should mulch your trees in the spring to offer sufficient soil time to warm in the summer season. When the soil warms, it absorbs the nutrients from mulch easily and makes them available to the roots.
Prevent the growth of weeds
Weeds are harmful to most plants and can also impact the growth of your trees, especially the new trees. They can rob your trees of water, sunlight, and nutrients. Moreover, they can multiply and spread around your trees to create thick foliage and absorb the nutrients and water from the soil. This will further block the sunlight and air from reaching the roots. In this way, weeds deprive your trees of water, sunlight, and nutrients. A thick layer of mulch prevents the weeds from germinating and growing. Do not create a layer more than 3 inches thick as it can deprive the soil of oxygen. 2 to 3.5 inches of a layer is sufficient to reap all its benefits for your trees.
Enhance the physical structure of the soil
Mulch adds humus to the garden soil, thereby increasing the organic matter to the soil. If you have heavy clay soil, adding mulch can improve the aeration in them. In the case of sandy soil, mulch improves the water retention capacity. Organic mulches also add minerals like nitrogen and phosphorus into the soil.
Prevents runoff and erosion.
The bare soil without any layer of protection is prone to runoff and erosion. An added layer of mulch offers protection to the soil from erosion. It also reduces the runoff by creating a spongy surface that absorbs water and prevents the soil from runoff.
Recycles yard and landscape waste
As mulch can be made of organic materials, it offers gardeners and homeowners to make use of landscape waste. You can produce mulch using the tree back, wood chips, dry leaves as well as grass clippings. So, homeowners and landscape owners can recycle the garden waste to produce mulch for their shrubs and trees.
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These were the advantages of using mulch for your trees. Adding a layer of mulch can enhance the growth of trees and also protect them from extreme temperatures. It is especially useful in locations that experience frost in winters and harsh sun in summer. Now, as you know the importance of mulch, you can use it for your trees.