Friday, June 27, 2014

Keep your garden weedless

Plant litter mulch in a forest, naturally enha...
Plant litter mulch in a forest, naturally enhancing the vegetation and soil vitality. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the least liked task in #gardening is, you guessed it, weeding. While you can never be rid of weeding completely; you can cut it down dramatically with the use of weed-free mulch. A nice layer of weed-free mulch can stop any weed seeds dropped by the birds, shook off the fur coat of passing critters or blown in with the wind from setting in roots. Added bonus of mulching are ground moist retention by slower water evaporation, retention of nutrients, maintains the soils temperature; keeping is cooler in the summer and insulated in the winter and helps put/keep the soil in a more natural state.

#Mulching should be done twice a year, spring and autumn. For control of weeds throughout the growing season, a layer 2-3 inches works best and to insulate soil in the winter, a layer 4-6 inches is effective. Trees and shrubs can be mulch with 6 or more inches. Remember not to lay down mulch on waterlogged soil – it should be only moist or dry, and do not apply mulch too close to the base of plants as this will cause plant rot and invite pest.
Pine needles used as mulch. Also called "...
Pine needles used as mulch. Also called "pinestraw" in the southern US. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are a wide array of mulches available today, each to suit the wide array of different applications and needs. The following list covers some mulches available today:
  • Compost – if done right can be made weed seed free, provides nutrients, prevents diseases, and plants can be directly in it.
  • Straw, leaves and grass clippings – smothers weeds and holds is moisture.
  • Hay – adds nutrients as it decomposes.
  • Bark Chips – long lasting and attractive but ranks low on moisture retention and keeping all weeds out.
  • Wood Clips – good at smothering weeds and is somewhat long lasting.
  • Rubber Mulch – smothers weeds, does not attract insects and long lasting.

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