In this dreadful season of drought, it is important to understand the role of mulch and the basic need of its benefits for not only your plants, but the soil that feeds them. Its benefits are quite vast to cover in one post, but we'll unpack your soil first and then we'll point to specific drought indications that could potentially creep up in the coming summer months.
Mulch can be made up of various items, including dead leaves, fallen branches and other plant debris. Your friendly bacteria, different types of fungus and other living organisms use these for food and other resources organically - this we know as the process of decay. Naturally, decay is nature's way of returning raw materials to the earth for reuse - Mother Nature's recycling program.
Time to let Mother Nature back in - Protect your plants and soil this summer!
HOW IT STANDS UP TO THE DROUGHT
Without mulching your garden, you leave it susceptible to drying and hardening - baking effects of the heat caused by water evaporation and high winds. In a drought, these are amplified, as plants are dehydrated and soil becomes too dry to house nutrients. Your plants literally starve and the only solution that seems plausible is to replace them with plants that starve slower.
With mulch, you can maintain a water wise garden with consistent temperature and moisture regulation so that plants can continue to grow evenly. It helps all the way down to the roots, where nutrient levels enable good consistent growth.
PREPARE FOR TORRENTIAL RAINS
Rain will come. It may not have been consistent up to this point or even dependable, but it will arrive. When it does, you'll want to be ready for it. Mulch helps to break the impact of rain, in the process providing preventative measures for erosion, crusting and the compacting of soil. Furthermore, it helps to exclude light, which will go a long way into preventing the germination of weeds. That alone should provide ample incentive, as you'll spend less time trying to kill of the parasitic plants you don't want!