Native Plant How To Articles

Under Cover with Mulch

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Plants have the unfortunate condition of not being able to walk over to a shady spot when the sun gets too hot. But you can help them out by providing root protection in the form of some kind of mulch.  In addition to keeping the soil and roots cooler, here are some other benefits that mulches can provide:

Benefits of Mulching:

"Organic" mulches are those that are made up of plant parts such as pine bark, leaves, hardwood and cedar mulches.  Gardeners often use these to add organic matter to the soil as they decompose. 

"Mineral" mulches are those such as decomposed granite, limestone sand, pea gravel, or recycled glass. These materials are typically course, allowing moisture to drain away from the base of the plant.

Another method of "mulching" is to use a groundcover as a living mulch.  Many native plants are dense and vigorous enough to push most weeds out of the garden and shade the soil from the baking sun.  In addition to regulating soil temperature fluctuations, groundcovers also minimize erosion, reduce evaporation, and can certainly be beautiful.

Good Mulching Practices:

 

Bibliography

Let it Rot!: The Gardener's Guide to Composting (1998) Kathleen Bond Borie and Stu Campbell

The Rodale Book of Composting: Easy Methods for Every Gardener (1992) Deborah L. Martin

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