Mulch is any material that is placed on top of the soil in a garden. There are many people that use it as nothing more than a decoration that’s meant to do little more than draw the eye for a few seconds, which is a shame since it has many uses and is very beneficial to almost every garden you can find it in. Not only that, but the very process of mulching is very useful all by itself.
There are two types of mulch – organic and inorganic. Inorganic can be bought, but organic can be produced by mulching tree branches and is considered to be the superior of the two by most people, for two main reasons. The first is that mulching tree branches also gets rid of any dried up branches or even trees that fell for one reason or another, and repurposes them into something that still has a valuable role in the garden. The other reason is that since they are made of organic materials, unlike the inorganic variety, they will decompose over time and add nutrients and organic matter to the soil.
On the list of their benefits, while it’s by no means the most important of them all, it cannot be denied that the mulch does indeed add a bit of visual appeal that cannot be replicated by any other material or means. However, a perk that they provide that is far more useful is their ability to shield the soil from the sun’s rays and allow for water to evaporate at a less dramatic rate during the very hot summer months. This does not mean that they don’t have a use during the winter months, but rather the exact opposite. It can act as an insulator and keep the soil at a more balanced constant level during even more severe waves of cold weather and fluctuations in temperature.
A final thing to add would probably be to be careful of how heavy handedly you are applying the mulch. A wood-derived mulch may undergo high temperature decomposition causing it to dry out and opening the way for it to be colonized by fungi that create water repellent conditions throughout the mulch. Water is unable to penetrate the mulch and reach the soil and plants fail to receive adequate moisture. Mulching too deeply can also cause the soil to remain continuously wet contributing to root and stem rot problems in addition to depriving plants of needed oxygen. The best option is to apply a mulch layer no more than 1 to 3 inches thick.