In order to increase the yield on their plot, to protect plants from the negative effects of the environment, climate, pests, gardeners, summer residents, farmers use various agricultural methods. One of these methods is mulching - covering the topsoil with a specific material. Usually, organic material is used for this, such as tree bark, grass, crumbled leaves, straw and hay, compost. In recent years, inorganic materials in the form of agrofibre have been used along with organic steels.
Fallen leaves, straw, grass, tree bark and other organic residues. Many people consider them garbage that does not have benefits for the household. In fact, they can find effective application.
Consider the most popular organic materials that can appear as mulch.
In forests, fallen leaves perform an important function. A loose and voluminous layer of leaves under the trees ensures the retention of heat in the soil and prevents their freezing. The leaves also figure well in the role of mulch. The dense layer of leaves keeps moisture well, suppresses the appearance of soil crust and post-rain erosion. Over time, such a mulch decays and prevents the reproduction of earthworms.
Rotten fallen leaves will be an excellent and effective organic fertilizer. They include calcium, phosphorus, potassium, nitrogen, and beneficial trace elements.
Thanks to this, it is possible to explain such a fast and stable growth of trees without any fertilizers.
This leads to a logical conclusion: leaves are a material that is useful to a tree both when it hangs and when it has fallen.
Abroad, in some stores, in paper bags they sell fertile soil, for the creation of which they used fallen leaves.
In the fall, many site owners use mulching before winter.
Different leaves are recommended to be used in different ways. The leaves of fruit trees are placed for long-term decay, and lay the usual leaves of maple, chestnut, linden trees as an external shelter for crops during the winter and in the future, like mulch for the summer season.
One of the varieties of humus. It must be created separately, because the crumbling leaves are decomposed by another microflora, unlike other plant remains.
Soil, which is obtained as a result of humus of leaves, is called sheet soil. It is characterized as loose and light, having in its composition many substances useful and nutritious for plants. Improves soil characteristics, plants absorb it well.
In this case, cones and needles serve as mulch. They lay down in a dense layer on the site, but due to the ease they will not be compacted. Moisture and air freely flow into sheltered plants. It repels snails and slugs, prevents diseases and viruses in crops. The mulch does not get wet from the needles, it is not carried away by the wind. Increases the level of plant germination and soil productivity.
An excellent mulch will be pine litter. It is characterized by greater friability and an accelerated stage of humus. Contains many useful elements for soil
What crops is used for mulch from needles?
Cones - Strawberries, Strawberries, Cucumbers and Tomatoes
Needles - potatoes, beans, tomatoes, greens, cherry plum, cherry, raspberries, cranberries, nuts, grapes.
Pine litter - flower crops, cranberries, blueberries, strawberries. It is better not to use for growing seedlings.
It is not recommended to use mulching of needles for such crops: cabbage, pepper, asparagus, celery, beets, viburnum, parsnip
Recommendations for using needles for mulching
Spread in a layer over the area after the plants have sprouted. The density is about 10-15 cm. They are scattered around a certain crop, whether it be a fruit tree, vegetable crop or berry bush. If mulching is done for annual plants, then the cones are removed for the winter period. For perennial mulch left until the humus period.
Cones are characterized by excellent moisture throughput, so watering can be done on top of them. Fertilizer application is also recommended, since the nutrition from the needles is insufficient.
Before mulching with needles, the needles loosen the soil, weed and watered. Then the mulch is put in a layer whose density is from 7 to 15 cm. The thickness depends on the type of plants. For vegetable crops thinner, trees and bushes thicker. Mulch is harvested after the crop is harvested.
What you should pay attention to:
- it is not advisable to use green cones for mulch
- if the soil has high acidity, it is worth using mulch from needles in combination with other organic materials
- Do not place barbecue grills, fireplace places or similar flammable areas near mulch. Needles are highly flammable.
An excellent material for mulching is straw. It is compatible with almost all plant varieties. It is used both separately and together with other organic materials (compost, hay, ripe leaves).
One of the most successful combinations is a mixture of chopped straw and manure. It is relevant for mulching berries in the winter. Pure straw is used to mulch strawberries and strawberries.
Tips for using straw for mulching:
At the desired site, fill the straw so that a layer of about 10-15 cm thick is obtained. Then you need to wait until the straw settles to 5-6 cm. This density is quite suitable for planted plants. Later, when the layer decomposes a little, you can add straw to increase.
What crops should straw mulching be used for?
Vegetables: cabbage, potatoes, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, pumpkin.
Berries: strawberries, strawberries, blackberries.
Also great for mulching bushes and trees.
What you should not do when mulching with straw:
- Do not lay the straw in an overly dense layer. Otherwise, the straw will begin to rot from below, especially during precipitation. A thickness of 2 cm is recommended initially, and with a break of two weeks, add a little more.
- When using straw to mulch potatoes you need to be careful. Rodents love the smell of straw, can damage plants and steal crops.
- You also need to monitor the level of nitrogen, whether it is enough for covered plants. During humus, straw feeds on it more than other materials for mulching.
- It should not be laid before the straw before planting. It can slow down the development of seeds.
Advantages of straw as a mulching material:
- Neutralizes the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays
- Preserves moisture in the soil, providing the desired temperature and plant nutrition
- Protects plants from decay, suppressing contact with the soil after rain.
- Makes crops resistant to pests.
Tree bark is popular as soil mulch. It is one of the most effective materials available and practical to use. It does not require any costs and special skills / tools.
What are the benefits of using bark for mulching?
- Does not increase soil acidity, which is very good for crops that are vulnerable to this circumstance.
- Serves as a filter of moisture, does not allow negative elements to get into the roots of the plant
- Protects the culture from diseases and pests, in particular, from decay, fungi, nematodes, gray rot.
- Prevents soil surface from hardening. They create the right atmosphere for earthworms that positively affect the soil and its fertility.
Using tree bark as a material for mulching:
- Selection and harvesting of tree bark. For use, a tree that has been sawn / chopped down no more than 6 months ago is recommended. You can grind the bark both mechanically and manually (secateurs or clippers). Cut the bark
- recommended for small parts, up to 5 cm.
- Sterilization of future mulch. Put it in a container, pour water and boil for 10 minutes.
- Cleaning the site. We clean the necessary part of the territory from debris, weeds and crumbled leaves. If the soil is dry, then we moisten it with water.
- Fertilizer application. Before mulching, it is recommended to organize top dressing of the soil and plants with organic and mineral fertilizers.
- Mulching. Tree bark is relevant for spring mulching (May) and autumn mulching (September).
The bark is poured with a layer whose density is from 2 to 8 cm. The thickness of the layer depends on the density of the soil itself. On heavy soils, a layer of no more than 2 cm is recommended. On light soils, respectively, 5-8 cm.
The distance between plants and piled bark should be: for vegetables and shrubs 40-50 cm, for trees 70-80 cm. The frequency of mulching with bark is once every two to three years.
Grass is one of the most affordable materials for mulching. She is often the enemy of cultures and just litter for the site. However, it can be used to the benefit of your garden / garden / cottage / field. There is a lot of nitrogen in the grass, which will be extremely beneficial for the soil. Used grass in a dried and slightly withered condition.
If there is no lawn in your summer cottage, allocate a place for it. You can order lawn seeds in the online store, and after the appearance of lawn grass, you can regularly mow and use it for mulching.
What crops are most relevant for grass mulching? Potatoes, carrots, berry crops, trees. It is not recommended to mulch grass with gourds, cabbage and cucumbers.
Using grass for mulching:
Before use, only mowed grass must be dried.
It is already laid on the weathered beds, which were watered before that.
When mulching with grass, you need to leave the roots and stems of plants open, this will contribute to their protection from rot. The best time to use grass as a mulch is spring. It is laid in a layer of about 5-7 cm. This thickness will allow the soil to maintain the desired level of moisture.
From time to time it is worth adding herbs, because the initial layer will decrease.
When mulching perennial plants, grass must be left for the winter time. From annual crops, it is collected in a compost heap or dug into the ground.
As material for mulch, sawdust is not as accessible as grass, fallen leaves or tree bark. However, they are also often at hand, because wood processing is not uncommon in the economy.
Sawdust perfectly isolates the soil from the effects of temperature. By warming the soil, they protect the root system from frost. They have excellent throughput, air without obstacles passes to a hidden culture. Sawdust mulch protects plants from weeds, preventing their development. Sawdust from deciduous tree varieties (poplar, aspen, maple, fruit crops, etc.) are considered the most optimal material for mulch.
Sawdust is most effectively used with vegetables and flowers. They protect them from pests and promote healthy growth.
The use of sawdust as mulch. One of the most common ways:
Between the rows a dense layer of sawdust is poured to warm the soil, while at the same time making it resistant to pests and weeds. It can be combined with manure, bringing them on top of it.
Organic fertilizers are systematically introduced into the beds themselves, they are loosened after a certain period of time. The sawdust layer is replenished as it depletes.
It is worth watching the mulch from sawdust during bad weather, as the material is easily weathered. In order to suppress such situations, it is worth combining sawdust with other material.
Compost is considered one of the best materials for mulching due to its nutrient-rich composition. Compost is a mass of organic materials formed by the decomposition of plant debris. It perfectly performs the function of fertilizer, while protecting the soil from disease and moisturizing it at a sufficient level. Protects planted crops from adverse weather events like rainfall or frost.
Which crops are best for compost mulching?
Vegetables grown in the winter. Grapes Fruit and berry crops.
How to use compost mulch?
Compost is laid in a layer up to 15 cm thick. This density is most optimal, since compost sets quickly, and can be stretched by worms. A layer of compost also protects the soil and plants on it, suppressing the appearance and development of weeds.
What to look for when using compost as mulch:
- So that in its composition there are no grass crops with seeds.
- May attract parasites.
Peat appears as one of the variations of the material for mulching. It provides active insulation of the soil, which makes it relevant for use in autumn and winter. Peat can also hold moisture well. Mulching with peat can change heavy soil, making it lighter and more loose, well-permeable to air. It will have the opposite effect on light sandy soil: it will become viscous, it will be better to retain moisture.
The most common peat mulching crops:
Strawberries, strawberries, flowers, garlic, onions
The use of peat as a mulch.
The most popular method: Peat is introduced into the soil with subsequent digging. The application rate is 30-40 kg per 1 sq. M. Then peat should be periodically poured around the planted crops with a layer of about 5-6 cm.
Things to consider when choosing peat as a material for mulching:
- Type of peat used. Peat should be transitional or lowland. The place where it was taken plays an important role, because the composition of peat depends on it. Characteristics such as the ability to retain moisture and decompose also depend on the place.
- Do not mulch in a dense layer. Recommended density 1 cm. Check peat before use. Freshly formed, poorly ventilated peat can be toxic to crops. Permissible density - 7 cm.
To summarize, it is worth saying that mulching is a very effective agrotechnical technique. With its help, it is possible to significantly increase the level of germination and productivity of planted crops, enrich the soil with useful elements, protect both soil and plants from diseases, pests, rainfall, wind and negative external conditions. The advantages of this method of plant protection are significantly superior to the cons. Definitely, he deserves to try it on his site.