Question: What is a mulch, and what can it do for my plants?

Answer: Mulches are a gardener’s salvation. They save plants, and they save time, money and a lot of hard work. Plus, they make the place look good. A mulch is any layer of covering over the top of the soil. It can be organic, such as compost, shredded tree leaves or ground pine bark, or it can be inorganic, such as the roll-type mulches you cut and fit around your plants, stones, river rock or chopped rubber tires. Mulches minimize the rate of temperature change in the soil. They reduce or eliminate weed growth. Mulches protect produce from splashing rains, and they also keep vegetables lifted off the soil surface, so they lessen the risk of insect and disease invasion. Mulches slow the movement of water across the soil surface so that more of it will penetrate into the root zone, and they also reduce the loss of topsoil in sandy, windy areas.

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