It limits watering and weeding while protecting plants. Well known to gardeners, mulching is highly recommended to all those who love their green space. Accessible to all, the mulching technique is extremely simple to implement. Here are some tips to follow for successful mulching
What does mulching consist of?
Mulching consists of placing organic or mineral matter on the ground. Originally, cereal straw was used, hence the name mulch. This mulch is installed at the foot of the massifs and around the different crops play a protective role. Against weeds first, because mulching limits their development, which will save you the chore of weeding. It also makes it possible to limit evaporation and therefore to maintain the soil, a very important asset in summer to avoid too frequent watering in the event of high heat (it is also a good solution for potted plants. on the terrace when going on vacation). Mulching is also a very good solution to protect the soil from erosion. Under mulch, insects, worms and microorganisms develop more easily, which enriches the soil and helps plants grow. Finally in winter, it serves as thermal protection and will protect the plants from frost.
What materials to use for mulching?
There are 2 categories of materials for mulching: organic mulches and mineral mulches. The first category includes all plant elements such as wood chips, hemp or flax flakes, cocoa shells. clay balls, dead leaves … Mineral mulches are made up of elements that are not biodegradable: pozzolana, gravel, pebbles, pieces of slate, etc.
Which mulch to choose?
Organic mulches have the advantage of decomposing and nourishing the soil. In the garden center, you will find bags adapted to your needs … Be careful, reserve maritime pine bark for plants that appreciate acidic soil. Depending on the region, we find bags of wood chips, chestnut in the Dordogne for example. If you have a mulcher, you can use the cuttings from your garden. Garden waste, such as lawn mowing residue, can for example be used as organic mulch. For mulching that combines long-term effectiveness, prefer mineral mulches, they have the advantage of being relatively heavy and therefore of not blowing away with the four winds. However, they are much more expensive to buy.
Finally, if you have a sloping ground, a mound to plant, you can opt for a polyethylene or polypropylene mulch canvas. It is not very aesthetic but helps prevent the growth of weeds. Useful when the plantations are young and have not yet grown in size.
How to set up mulching?
Before setting up your mulch, start by weeding the area you want to mulch. Do not neglect this step. Indeed, mulching is not a natural weedkiller, it only chooses the growth of weeds. Once the area has been weeded, loosen the soil, add a little compost on the surface, then water.
On a layer about 5 cm thick, then spread your mulch around your plants and shrubs. Take care not to cover the crown of the plants. If your plants have not yet exceeded 10 cm in height, reduce the height of the mulch. You will gradually increase its thickness by following the rate of growth of your plants.
Finish setting up your mulch by watering again to moisten the mulch.
Some tips for successful mulching
When to mulch? May is the best month of the year for mulching. During this period, the ground is perfectly thawed and sufficiently warmed up, two essential conditions to avoid suffocating your plants with your mulch.
Which crops to mulch? Almost all crops adapt perfectly to mulching. This is the case for bedding plants, shrubs, but also vegetables from the kitchen garden. However, we do not recommend mulching crops that are not moisture tolerant, such as garlic or onion.
What maintenance for mulching? With its freshness and ambient humidity, mulch displays optimal conditions to become a residence of choice for certain insects and other animal species. Slugs and snails in particular are fond of these types of places. To prevent their overgrowth and egg laying, be sure to turn or renew the mulch in the spring.