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Proper usage of the right kind of mulch can eliminate or at least significantly reduce weeding, lower the amount of water required,
and generally helps to maintain a healthy garden. Mulch retains moisture and protects your soil from drying out, slowly releasing it
into the soil for use by your plants. A steady, gradual supply of moisture provides a stable growing environment and supports a
healthy variety of soil organisms. Mulches also protect the soil from temperature variations and help to insulate the root zone from
extremes of heat or cold.

Another benefit is the mulch protects the soil from erosion and crusting over. This allows for better air and water penetration
creating a looser soil

TYPES OF MULCHES

Decorative mulch types include: Bark chips or chunks, wood chips, shredded cedar, cocoa shells, and pine needles.

These are long lasting products that decompose very slowly. They add little to the fertility of the soil and are best suited to
ornamental beds.

There are also materials like recycled plastic tree rings or decorative gravel that may be used in xeriscaping or rock garden
situations.

Some other types of mulches that are more rapidly decomposed are: Shredded leaves, leaf mold, grass clippings or straw. These
are best suited to vegetable plots and can be turned into the soil at the end of the season adding to the percentage of organic
matter in the soil improving it's structure. Soils high in organic matter encourage root development and biological activity, further
enhancing soil structure.

Mulched soils need less cultivation than bare soils. It is believed that soil structure and biological activity can be improved in some
ways by reducing tilling/cultivation. Sound application of mulch allows for this. These type mulches can be used on ornamental
beds as well but would need to be replaced more often.

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