If you are new to gardening, mulch is an easy step to overlook. You are busy picking out the best plants, choosing the perfect locations, watering and fertilizing per each plant’s needs. While it’s important to lay a solid foundation for your garden, the mulch is a vital finishing touch that will save you a lot of time and energy in the long run!
Why Is Mulching So Important?
I’m sure you’ve walked past someone’s well manicured lawn or seen beautiful pictures in landscaping magazines and thought, “Wow, that looks so nice!” It was probably a combination of the color scheme and the mulch, creating a finished look to a well done landscaping. While mulching does give your space that great finished look, the reasons to invest the time to properly mulching your garden space extends well beyond the aesthetics. Mulching is critical to your garden for numerous reasons, including:
- Retaining Moisture: Since the mulch is creating a barrier between the air and the soil, evaporation is slowed down. This allows the soil to retain moisture longer, giving your plants a better chance of getting the water they need!
- Weed Control: When mulch is applied in a 2-4 inch thick layer, it prevents the majority of weeds from being able to sprout, then take root because they are not getting the sunlight that it needs. This means less weeding for you, and your plants get the benefit of not competing with unwanted plants for water and nutrients!
- Helps Prevent Temperature Shock: We all have dreaded when you are trying to start your garden as early as possible but the temperatures keep fluctuating, creating a dangerous risk of shock to your plants. Mulch can help prevent this by acting as in insulator. This means the soil retains some of it’s warmth in the winter and stays cooler in the summer than bare soil! 
- Prevents Plant Disease: We all know that it’s important to water our plants near the soil instead of from above. This is because watering from overhead creates a great environment for disease. Part of the problem with watering from above is the splashing it creates on the underside of the plant, spreading soil that could carry diseases right to your plant. Mulch prevents this from happening because the water is being filtered through the mulch to the soil, so no direct contact can occur. Mulch also helps prevent disease by helping plants stay off of the immediate soil, such as melons, strawberries, and tomatoes. This helps them stay healthy from disease and rot.
- Prevents Soil Erosion/ Compaction: Think of mulch as a protective layer between the elements and your soil. By having this layer, you are less likely to see you soil compacting due to the elements because there is a buffer in place. This is also true for erosion, especially in areas with heavy rain or on slopes. 
Amazing how something so simple can have so many vital impacts to the success of your garden! Stay tuned for our next article on what kinds of mulch are available and how to know what is best for your garden!
Love this article? Check out our other Gardening Basic articles here:
- The Easiest Way to Germinate Seeds Indoors
- Egg Shells: 3 Easy Ways to Use Eggshells in Your Garden
- Growing Plants: Essential Nutrients for Healthy Plants
- Soil Types: What It Means to Your Garden
- Hardiness Zones and Why You Should Care
- Common Gardening Mistakes: Plant Selection
- The Benefits of Mulching & How to Pick the Right Type of Mulch Material. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.scotts.com/en-us/library/mulch-garden/benefits-mulching.
- Old Farmer’s Almanac. (2019, October 7). Mulching Guide: Benefits of Mulch. Retrieved from https://www.almanac.com/news/gardening/gardening-advice/mulching-guide-benefits-mulch.