Mulching the soil: materials for mulching

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Mulching is a useful agronomic technique used by gardeners in many climatic zones. In the process of this procedure, the soil is covered with organic or man-made material, and the beds can be completely covered or only the space between the rows.

Nature itself taught man to mulch soil. Indeed, in meadow open spaces and in forest thickets under bushes and trees, the ground is rarely bare - fallen leaves, dry grass, needles protect the soil from drying out, and plants - from the effects of cold weather and parasites.

The mulch layer allows the soil to maintain its structure and prevents crust formation. In addition, the mulched soil does not erode with water during irrigation, retains moisture and inhibits the growth of weeds. Mulch significantly reduces the number of waterings and makes loosening almost unnecessary.

What can be used for mulching on your site? There are a lot of options.

Mulching with inorganic covering materials

For this, color and black film, lutrasil, roofing felt, roofing felt are suitable. They are laid on the beds, strengthened, and then holes are made where the plants are planted. The slots should be slotted (we cut the film across or along), and not in the form of a square or a circle. So the earth will evaporate less moisture, and water will be able to penetrate well into the ground.

Black film is used for mulching zucchini and cucumbers. It will perfectly protect the planting from weeds and reduce the frequency of watering. Strawberries covered with foil will always delight you with clean berries.

Tomatoes prefer to be mulched with a red film, and cabbage - white. Transparent film for mulch is not recommended - it does not inhibit, but on the contrary, causes active growth of weeds.

The film material used for mulching must meet the following requirements:

  • Keep out the sun's rays
  • Have an elastic and thin structure
  • Stick tightly to the ground
  • Be strong so that weeds cannot break through

Film mulch increases the soil temperature by 1.5-2 ° C, and this is an important factor for the unstable climate of the middle zone, where the summer is short. Film mulching also reduces moisture evaporation, making the surface of the soil cooler on hot days. Thus, the film helps plants to feel comfortable in hot, cold and drought conditions.

This opaque shelter is widely used for chemical-free weed control. With its help, even hard-to-remove plants that reproduce by rhizomes - loach, wheatgrass, sow thistle - are destroyed.

The black film prevents the formation of a soil crust, which reduces the amount of oxygen supplied to the roots, which is so necessary for seedlings. This mulch maintains a loose soil structure. For example, on a strawberry bed under a film, the soil remains unbroken and porous even for five years.

Another plus: film mulch increases soil fertility. Weeds in the upper soil layer decompose, enriching it with nitrogen, and the microorganisms protected by the film begin to actively grow and feed, increasing the humus content.

The soil covered with such mulch stores heat better in winter, and the beds freeze less. Therefore, the film shelter is very important for dwarf apple trees, whose frost resistance is not so high, and for strawberries - its roots are located close to the soil surface.

Film mulch under strawberry bushes prevents the formation of gray mold and reduces the number of nematodes.

With all the advantages, film mulch also has a negative quality. Unlike organic matter, it does not lend itself to decomposition, which feeds the soil. This factor forces many summer residents to first mulch the beds with humus, and then cover them with various non-woven materials.

Using organic mulch

Whatever the merits of synthetic materials, today's gardeners prefer natural mulch more.

An organic shelter not only inhibits the growth of weeds, protects the soil from freezing and overheating and retains moisture in it, but also saturates plants and microorganisms with nutrients. After all, gradually decomposing, the mulch forms a fertile layer in the soil.

In order for mulching with natural materials to give the maximum effect, you need to figure out when and what kind of shelter is better to use.

Mulching with freshly cut grass

The grass is saturated with nitrogen and other useful elements that are needed for the development of plantings to be full.

For mulching, you can take grass from a mown lawn, slightly dried weeds after weeding, pinned branches of tomatoes. Pay attention, the leaves of the tomatoes will become an excellent covering of the cabbage bed, they will scare off the white-haired woman who loves tight heads of cabbage.

Do not rush to mulch the soil with freshly cut grass, let it dry for a day or two, otherwise it will start to rot too quickly.

In the northern regions, the mulching process is carried out after the soil warms up to a sufficient depth, and the seedlings rise and grow stronger. In the southern regions, grass mulch is applied even before planting so that it can saturate the soil with nutrients.

Mulching the soil with compost

It is difficult to find a more versatile and ideal shelter than compost. It is completely safe and loved by all vegetables. Mulching with compost increases the resistance of plants to diseases and provides them with excellent nutrition.

Therefore, it is better to put kitchen waste, tops, weeds, organic waste in a compost pit, sprinkling it with sawdust, paper, soil. After a year, you will have high-quality natural mulching material.

Straw mulching

It is best to cover the soil with straw under the nightshade - bushes of tomatoes and potatoes.

It will become a good barrier between ripening tomatoes and pathogens living in the ground, protect plants from rot and anthracnose, and prevent leaf blight. And if you mulch potato rows with straw, the Colorado potato beetle will often bypass them.

In addition, straw mulch is great for planting garlic, basil, garden blackberries and strawberries.

Mulching with newsprint

Read color and black-and-white newspapers can be safely laid on the beds - they will become an excellent mulch and prevent weeds from growing.

The bed, prepared for mulching, is covered with four layers of newspapers and sprinkled with grass, hay, soil or straw.

Some gardeners fear that printing ink can damage the plantings, however, according to American scientists, modern printing compounds do not pose a threat to soil and plants.

Cardboard and kraft paper are no less effective in fighting weeds. They can replace film mulch when it is necessary to warm up the soil. If two or three days before transplanting seedlings to the garden, cover the garden with kraft paper, it will raise the soil temperature by 3 ° C.

A high result is obtained by mulching raspberry bushes and legumes with paper - the yield of these crops is significantly increased.

Fallen leaves mulching

Leaf litter is ideal for cabbage and bean beds. Peppers, eggplants, and tomatoes can be mulched with leaves, but after deep heating of the soil.

Such mulch is good in flower beds, it will save flowers from freezing and will not allow bulbs to germinate during the thaw period.

Tree bark mulching

The bark of trees is the most durable mulching material. It decays for a long time, as it is poorly saturated with moisture. Therefore, this mulch turns out to be "long-lasting" and is often poured around bushes and trees.

When mulching tomatoes, it is recommended not to use coniferous bark - volatile substances from it often harm tomatoes.

Wood mulch is very good in flower beds and berry fields. Its durability makes it possible to use bark as a decor in landscaping and create stunningly original flower beds.

Mulching with sawdust or wood chips

Such material is poured where the land is rarely cultivated and almost does not know what a shovel is - on garden paths, furrows. After all, chips need more than a year for complete decay.

It is good to cover the soil in the raspberry with sawdust, or in late autumn to cover the beds with winter crops, for example, garlic.

Do not use caked sawdust for mulching. If they have been heaped for a long time, it is very likely that oxygen has not been supplied to the lower layers for a long time, and they "sour". Before use, such material must be sprinkled with a thin ball and dried well.

Needle mulching

Strawberry and eggplant bushes love the needles - it perfectly protects and nourishes them. However, many gardeners have a preconceived notion that pine needles seem to oxidize the soil.

But it has been experimentally proven that the pH of the soil, where a seven-centimeter layer of coniferous needles was poured for two years in a row, remained the same as before mulching.

In addition to the materials mentioned above, peat and crumbs from it, sunflower and pumpkin seed cake, humus, dry reeds are suitable for covering the soil in the beds. Often, several materials are combined under mulch, for example, freshly cut grass with cake or straw together with cardboard. An excellent effect is obtained from mulching with fresh grass mixed with sawdust.

How and when to carry out mulching, we will discuss in the next article.

Cover and ... beautify: mulching materials

How to combine beauty and benefits "in one bottle"? It's very simple - to master mulching. This simple technique will protect plants from weed attacks, increase soil fertility and make flower beds and flower beds as pretty as possible.

It is the "magic powders" that not only transform the garden beyond recognition, but also make it possible to feast on healthy and tasty fruits and admire the luxurious inflorescences without much hassle.

A shelter made of painted wood chips will also become a decorative element of the garden. It is important that the colors and style of the mulch and the flower garden are in harmony, so you should not buy chips of acidic shades.

The popularity of the agrotechnical technique is quite understandable: it is simple to implement and at the same time multitasking, that is, it allows solve several problems at the same time... The soil covered with mulch is protected from overheating and hypothermia, evaporation, moisture and weathering, from silting and cracking, and the mulch itself enriches the soil and improves its structure. But main advantage, which is appreciated by everyone, and especially "Sunday" gardeners - mulching saves you from endless weeding, because in well-covered areas the weeds lose their aggressiveness, because all their strength is spent on breaking through the bulk "armor".

Under a blanket of straw, the soil breathes, becomes loose, it does not need frequent watering, even if the summer is dry.

Yes and material for these purposes usually you don't need to buy, it is almost always at hand:

  • cut grass,
  • compost,
  • needles,
  • dry foliage,
  • newspapers and cardboard,
  • sawdust, shavings and shredded branches left after pruning.

But if mulch for garden beds, first of all, should be useful and affordable, then in the garden (in flower beds, in a rose garden, by a reservoir), you want it not only not to spoil the picturesque picture, but also to please the eye. What to do? To choose! Indeed, today garden centers delight with an abundance of proposals, and among the possible options there are dumps that can bring benefits and act as a spectacular element of decor. Each has its own characteristics, pros and cons, and today we will talk about them.

Wood chips incredibly popular with urban landscapers. In the fall, they cover the flower beds that have been emptied after annuals with colored wood chips, and on gray gloomy days, bright patterns hide the bare cold earth, on which petunias and marigolds were fragrant until recently.

Dyed wood chips

Manufacturers of colored wood chips claim that they use exclusively natural dyes (resistant to sun and moisture), which do not harm the soil and do not fade for a long time. But wood chips (both natural and dyed) are not only decorative, they are:

  • inhibits the growth of weeds well,
  • retains moisture in the soil,
  • warms and enriches her.

There are dumps that can both bring benefit and act as a spectacular element of decor.

True, due to the fact that wood material (like shavings, sawdust, branches, bark) overheats rather slowly (2-3 years) and at the same time extracts nitrogen from the soil, it is better for them to mulch the trunks in the gardenmature trees and shrubs with deep root systems.

For young and actively growing under a layer of chips, it is advisable to spread humus or compost, and pour chips in flower beds over black non-woven fabric: it not only decorates it, but also additionally protects the site from weeds, overheating and cooling.

In the spring, it is easy to rake mulch in a pile to allow the earth to dry out and warm up quickly or to make room for new plantings.

Depending on the wood speciesfrom which the chips were obtained, it has different properties. For example, chips and shavings of deciduous species (linden, birch) acidify the soil less than conifers, and they are re-peeled a little faster.

Choosing wood chips, you need to ... smell it. Is there a vinegar smell? Refuse to buy - decay products could form from moisture in the chips.

Important: when mulching a flower garden with colored wood chips, remember that the dumping should be in harmony with the surrounding plants, emphasize their beauty, and not distract from it.

Another mulching material - tree bark - looks natural and unusually impressive. It is factual, has different shades and perfectly sets off greenery - foliage, herbs and needles, and also visually combines not only with plants, but also with stones, tiles, wooden buildings in the garden, becoming an intermediary between living and inanimate material.

The bark of trees looks unusually impressive.

For mulching, the bark of oak, birch, larch, cedar and pine is usually used, and fraction sizes are presented in three options:

  1. Large (9–20 cm) - the most durable (overheats within 5 years) and the most spectacular. It is best combined with large plants - trees and shrubs, sometimes it is used to decorate sites.
  2. Bark fine and medium fractions suitable for mulching any flower beds and tree trunks.

Advice: mulch planting a mixture of bark of different sizes, then overheating will take place slowly and naturally, gradually enriching the soil and feeding the plants.

Renew the bark mulch layer usually every 2-3 years... To suppress the growth of weeds under the bark as much as possible, the layer of mulch should be no thinner than 5–7 cm. It will enhance the effect of “pacifying” weeds additional bedding from newspapers, kraft paper or cardboard.

Our market will help you choose wood chips and other materials for mulching, where products from various online stores are presented. View a selection of decorative backfill materials.

Important: When choosing bark for mulching, consider the characteristics of each of the varieties. For example, tannins, which are abundant in the bark of oak, scare away snails, and the phytoncidal properties of conifers (cedar, pine, larch) inhibit the growth of pathogenic microorganisms.

When choosing bark for mulching, consider the characteristics of each of the varieties.

Some varieties also have an additional bonus - a noble aroma, which is emitted by the bark of cedar and pine, warmed up in the sun.

Important: coniferous forests in the Moscow region in recent years have been severely affected by the attack of the bark beetle. Is there a danger of bringing its larvae into your garden along with the bark for mulching? Experts say: when a tree is cut down and the bark is removed, harmful insects die, they do not live on dry wood. But nevertheless, it is better not to take risks and in those places where there is an active felling of spruce and pines affected by this pest, not to collect the bark of newly felled trees.

Rules for mulching raspberries in spring and autumn

What is mulching for?

Since raspberries do not have a strong root system, the main function of mulching is to protect the root system of the shrub. Located at a depth of 30 cm, the roots of the berry bush are very vulnerable to the severe frosts of central Russia. During periods of severe frost, the likelihood of complete freezing of the bushes increases sharply. Covering the soil creates favorable conditions for the successful wintering of raspberries. In addition, mulch has other important functions:

  • Retains moisture in the ground.
  • In spring and autumn, it improves the air-water regime.
  • Maintains a constant soil temperature by slowing down heating and cooling. Due to mulching, raspberry roots develop better, and the bush remains active longer.
  • It inhibits the growth of extra raspberry shoots in the spring, making it easier to care for the plantings.
  • Improves the illumination of the root zone, which prevents the shoots from stretching excessively in spring.
  • Increases the concentration of carbon dioxide in the squat zone, improving the process of photosynthesis.
  • Using dark spunbond as a mulch for raspberries or sprinkling the soil with peat accelerates the ripening process of the crop.
  • Protects the soil from crusting and weed rampage. Unlike working with a hoe, the roots are not damaged and "branch" better.
  • A protective coating keeps raspberries from temperature extremes in all seasons. This is especially important for the first 2 years of growth.
  • Organic raspberry mulch gradually "supplies" the soil with important "nutrition". The roots grow better, the yield increases.
  • A thick layer of spring cover will prevent adult pests from crawling out of the soil after wintering.
  • Reduces the amount of watering and soil cultivation.

In spring and autumn, when planting new bushes of raspberries, it is recommended to mulch with "organic" and straw.


First, in the fall, the earth is dug up and watered, then covered. Since raspberries do not tolerate an acidified or alkaline soil composition, “organic” with neutral acidity is chosen as a coating. In the fall, it is permissible to use inorganic materials, properly fixing them to the surface.

How to mulch raspberries in autumn
MaterialCovering methods
PeatThe perfect mulch. Lay 5-7 cm. On heavy soil and "quicksand" - up to 10 cm. In the fall, it is possible to sprinkle on raspberries on top of the first snow.
CompostThe option is exceptional, with the complete absence of the possibility to use other materials. The height of the powder in the fall is 5 cm.
Small wood shavings (sawdust)Raspberry mulching with sawdust is the most famous option. Decay in 2-3 seasons. Fall asleep in heaps at a level of 10-12 cm.
StrawEach raspberry plant is covered with a layer of 10 centimeters.
Overripe foliage (2 years of storage)The way is successful. Sprinkle the base of the bush evenly for wintering.
HumusPromotes the growing of offspring of two years of age. For remontant varieties of raspberries - another incentive for the appearance of fresh shoots.
Spunbond blackIt is taken with a density of 60 g / m 2. In autumn, "paths" about 40 cm wide are laid out on 2 sides of each chain of raspberry plants, securing with steel anchors. Almost complete guarantee of zero weeds in spring.

Annual mulching in the fall saves berries and foliage from disease, as they cease to contact the ground.

In the northern planting regions and areas with little snowy winters, mulching raspberries in the fall is critical to warming the roots and new shoots. It must be carried out before the first serious frost.


By the spring, little remains of the autumn dressing. Therefore, mulching is repeated immediately after the introduction of the first mineral fertilizers. In spring, the process begins when shoots from underground buds of two-year-old stems grow to 30-35 cm.

Choosing what to mulch raspberries in the spring, you don't have to worry too much, since many undemanding, but at the same time very nutritious materials for raspberries will do.

  • Manure (preferably rotted). Must be added if sawdust was used in the fall. It is good to sprinkle additional straw in the spring, first of all, for raspberries of the first year of cultivation. The mulching mixture is crumbled into a layer up to 8 cm to warm up the root system, but fresh manure is not taken so that there are no burns to the plants.
  • Sunflower husk. It is more convenient than millet or buckwheat, since it compresses slightly and is less carried by the wind during mulching. In the spring, they are poured 5 centimeters thick.
  • Hay. Possible, but not the best, mulch for raspberries. Often in the fall weedy seeds are "canned", which "revive" in the spring.
  • Cut branches. For mulching, shredded branches and chips are used, which have rotted in a heap of compost during the year. In the spring, they are poured into a layer up to 10 cm.
  • Old newspapers. You can only take paper with high-quality printing ink. As a mulch, small scraps are scattered over the raspberries or spread out whole newspapers. In the spring, they are placed on top of each other in 4 rows. They cover them with earth, straw, or at least hay from above. Decomposing paper improves berry yields.

As in autumn, on spring days it is allowed to use sawdust, peat or lutrasil shelter. In a climate of cold and humid spring, mulching of raspberries with straw or any other material can be shifted until mid-June so that the warmed-up soil perceives it better.

You cannot mulch the soil in the spring before fertilizing! Not used as covering material: old foliage, harvested weeds, wood chips, tree bark, grass cuttings.

Timely spring mulching removes excess moisture and unnecessary growth in the root zone of raspberry planting, preserves the composition of the soil, speeds up the ripening of berries and improves plant health.

Which mulch to choose?

There is no definitive “best” or “worst” material for mulching soil in spring or fall. The main selection criteria are heat conductivity, degree of compaction, decay rate and, of course, cost. Any raspberry mulch has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Features of the material used to cover the soil
Mulching materialFeatures of the
StrawDecomposes in a short time, reflects light, enriches the structure of the soil in the state of compost.
HayDecays quickly.
NeedlesReduced thermal conductivity, slowed down decomposition, uncomfortable material for walking with any agrotechnical impact. When applying, it is important to control the acidity of the soil.
Husk from sunflower seedsHeavier than rice, millet, buckwheat, little compaction.
SawdustStrongly "takes out" nitrogen. During mulching, nitrogen is additionally added to the raspberry tree, or rotted sawdust is used.

Annual mulching creates the best conditions for the development of raspberry bushes. Immediately after planting, the soil is covered with a protective material 80 cm wide and up to 10 cm thick.

Little tricks in the spring and autumn

Each agrotechnical process has its own small but important nuances that are important to consider when working. By turning them "in their favor", an experienced gardener achieves the best and quality harvest.

Mulching raspberries in autumn with a high layer of fresh manure by spring compresses the root space, slows down the heating of the soil and, accordingly, increases the period of formation of fresh shoots. This is especially critical for remontant varieties that can go away before winter. Accordingly, they pay special attention to the density of the autumn mulching of raspberries, so that in the spring the bushes grow faster.

When many weeds break through at the end of the year and pests are actively attacking, the following procedure is carried out to cleanse for the spring season:

  • After the pests leave for the winter, the old mulch is dug up with the soil.
  • In the spring, 30-50 g of nitroammophoska are introduced for each square meter of raspberry.
  • The earth is loosened.
  • New mulch is applied to raspberries in layers: straw, peat, sawdust, hay. Total height of 15-20 centimeters. Without tamping.

An effective option for weed control is mulching the row spacings. It helps not only from "clogging" the raspberry tree, but also from a number of pests. This is especially important for young plants up to 2 years old from planting.

Knowing how to mulch raspberries correctly, you can protect them from the winter cold and summer heat, preserve nutrients in the soil. The main thing is to choose the material of the shelter in accordance with the season and lay it all over the raspberry tree. A protective cover will help the bushes grow strong and healthy, forming juicy, sweet berries.

Hay (stale)

Mulching vegetables with hay is an affordable and environmentally friendly option for sheltering the soil from the scorching sun. When using hay for mulching, it is worth remembering about weeds, because fresh hay is no different from weeds that grow on your site.

It is best to use stale hay for mulching, last year or the year before last, having previously turned it over so that dry seeds fall out of the achenes. Tedding will reduce the amount of natural vegetation at times, which means that peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes will be happy with freedom in space.

In addition, decaying hay turns into hay dust - a valuable nutrient for worms and other inhabitants of the soil, serving them as food.

Mulching the soil: materials for mulching - gardening

April 15, 2017 Natalia

Many gardeners successfully use such an agricultural technique as soil mulching. Mulch stops weed growth and keeps the soil moist and loose. Consider what mulching is and how this agrotechnical technique can be useful in gardening.

Mulching: description and application

As the large encyclopedic dictionary tells us, mulching (otangl. Mulch - cover with manure, straw), covering (continuous or in the aisles) of the soil with so-called mulch (paper, plastic film, humus, etc.). By the way, mulching is not something supernova for humanity. For example, in Eastern Europe, farmers covered the soil with buckwheat straw as early as the 17th century.

Mulch performs many functions to protect and enrich the soil, namely:

  • helps in weed control (a layer of 5-7 centimeters can reduce weed growth several times)
  • creates a shade in the aisles, which also interferes with the development of weeds.
  • reduces the evaporation of water from the soil and, as a result, reduces the frequency of watering
  • prevents the formation of a soil crust, which means that loosening can be carried out less often
  • Helps prevent pathogens from splashing from soil to plants during watering and rain
  • prevents soil erosion
  • prevents the soil from overheating during the summer heat
  • prevents soil weathering in autumn
  • protects plant roots from freezing in winter.

Mulching materials

As mulch, you can use various improvised means or purchase ready-made mulching materials in specialized stores. Mulch with anything, from hay and fallen leaves, ending with various inorganic materials such as film and even stones. The choice of material usually depends on the specifics of the soil on the site, the type of mulched plants and the climate of the region.

Important! If you decide to try mulching in your beds, wait until the soil warms up. It has been noticed that if you cover the aisles too early, the planted plants may lag behind in development, since the mulch will not let heat through. The approximate month for applying mulch is June, by which time the soil should have warmed up enough.

You can apply mulch everywhere: apply under shrubs and trees, lay out on vegetable beds, between annual and perennial flowers. Below are examples of using some of the mulching materials:

  1. Thatch or dry cut grass, which can be found in almost any garden. Only freshly cut stems are not suitable, as they contain too much moisture and ugly lumps are obtained from them. Straw, on the other hand, has a suitable structure and even a thick layer of it will allow air to pass through. The only thing, be careful with mice - they really like to crawl under the straw and look for the remains of grain there.
  2. Wood and coniferous bark. Unprocessed bark mulch is ideal for laying under trees and bushes. For mulching the soil near vegetable crops and ornamental flowers, only bark that has been processed in a composter is suitable. When using bark, nitrogen fertilizers must first be applied under a layer of such mulch.
  3. Compost. By using it as a mulching agent, you will thereby improve the quality of the soil underneath. For this, only matured compost should be used.
  4. Decorative (colored) mulch made of volcanic tuff or dyed wood chips. You can buy it at any flower center. In the garden, use for decoration and color accents. Mulch from red volcanic tuff, in addition to the mentioned benefits, also accumulates solar heat, which has a positive effect on the soil.
  5. Roofing material or black film. Mulching in this way, for example, strawberries, allows you to get an earlier harvest of berries and greatly facilitates further care for it.

Prerequisites for mulching with non-woven materials: sprinkle the edges well with earth, and put boards or stones at the joints of the overlapping rolls. It is quite convenient - you can walk on the boards in the future. Also, do not make too large holes (cuts) for plants. After planting them, it is advisable to sprinkle the holes with a handful of humus so as not to give the weeds a reason to find a gap and crawl in these places.

Have you heard a lot about mulching but haven't tried mulch yourself? You have a good reason - the gardening will soon be in full swing. Use at least one of the listed methods and make sure it works. Make your work easier. We will talk in more detail about the features of mulching using this or that material in the following publications. Stay in touch!

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Posted in Garden without hassle, Garden is my joy Tags: beds, mulching, vegetable growing, soil, gardening, plot

Mulching with gravel and crushed stone

Most often, flower beds, alpine slides, flower beds and flower beds are mulched with gravel and fine gravel. They are suitable for paths and for tree-trunk circles: but no matter how tightly you do not stack stones, weeds will still germinate through them. Therefore, many people scatter stones on non-woven material or film.

Gravel and crushed stone are decorative mulch and are used in horticulture, not horticulture.

Mulching the soil: materials for mulching - gardening


Mulching near-stem strips give a high effect in those gardens where it is not possible to provide plantations with water due to irrigation. Effectively mulching near-trunk strips of fruit and berry crops in the dry season of summer, especially in the first half of it. IN mulching need gardens located on the southern and similar slopes or with light sandy soils. For mulching use straw, cut grass, weeds obtained from weeding work on the site, peat, sawdust, straw manure or other materials.

Thanks to mulching the maintenance of moisture in the soil for a long time is ensured and precipitation is used more fully, and in the gardens located on the slopes, the soil is protected from washing away.

The minimum width of strips for planting apple and pear should be 1 m in the first two years of planting, 1.25 m in the third year of planting, 1.5 m in the 4th year, etc., for the 8th year of planting it is brought up to at least 2.5 m. This should create favorable conditions for the growth of the root system of fruit plantations, provision of soil and nutrients for the formation of high yields of fruits.

The width of the near-stem stripes in the plantations of cherry, plum, currant, gooseberry and other crops should slightly exceed the diameter of their crown. Without this, a high and annual harvest of fruits and berries of these crops cannot be expected.

It should be remembered that in the near-trunk strips, especially in berry bushes and even stone fruit crops, the root system is located very close to the soil surface.

Therefore, deep loosening of the soil in this zone is carried out with extreme caution. The depth of treatment decreases as it approaches the base of the plant. Digging the soil in the zone of the near-stem strip of currants, raspberries, gooseberries, cherries, plums is not allowed. In the zone of the sea buckthorn near-trunk strip, it is impossible to carry out deep loosening of the soil, so as not to damage the roots and not cause an unnecessary outbreak of the formation of root growth in connection with these.

Mulching: types and basic rules of application

Mulching or covering the topsoil any materials of both organic and synthetic origin - one of the important and fairly common methods in agriculture, well known since the 17th century in Western Europe, Canada and the United States. It is used in agriculture, horticulture and landscape design. The main purpose of using soil mulching is to improve the mechanical and biochemical characteristics of the soil and create optimal conditions for the growth and development of plants. Correctly carried out mulching allows you to reduce the amount of watering and loosening in the summer, as well as to avoid the spread of weed crops.

Before you start mulching, you need to know fundamental rulesallowing you to use this technique to the maximum benefit.

1. Autumn mulching is carried out within the next 2 - 3 days after the arrival of frost, covering the soil in order to protect it from low temperatures and erosion with a mulch layer of 8 - 10 cm. In early spring, it is necessary to completely free the soil from the residues of mulch in order to its better warming up.

2. Cover the soil in spring with mulching material only after it has warmed up enough. In the fall, with the end of the field work, it is recommended to shovel and burn the entire mulching layer in order to avoid the spread of pathogens accumulated in it.

3. Mulching is carried out only on wet soil, free of weeds. If the surface layer dries up, it must be pre-loosened, fertilized and moderately watered, after which the site is covered with mulch. It is important to remember that you cannot resort to mulching in areas with waterlogged or swampy soil. It is also undesirable to cover heavy clay soils with mulch.

4. The thickness of the mulch layer is selected depending on the type of soil. So, on light soils and chernozems, mulch is laid in a layer of 5 - 10 cm, and on loamy soils with a denser structure, its thickness should not exceed 2 - 3 cm.

5. Mulch, especially of organic origin, is laid in such a way that it does not come into contact with the trunks or stems of crops and does not contribute to the spread of putrefactive processes. The optimal distance from mulch to tree trunks (shrubs) is 5 - 10 cm, and to plant stems: 2 - 3 cm.

6. When mulching the soil with cut grass, it is necessary to dry it for several days beforehand. In addition, in order to avoid weed growth, it is imperative that seeds contained in both hay and grass residues do not enter the mulch.

7. Needles, used as mulch, increase the acidity of the soil, which can be corrected by introducing a small amount of ash or dolomite flour, and hay and wood waste alkalize it.

8. Wood chips, tree bark, shavings, sawdust absorb a significant amount of nitrogen from the soil, which negatively affects the development of plants. In this case, it is advisable to arrange a mulching layer by combining wood materials with nitrogen fertilizers or organic matter (compost, humus, cut grass, leaf humus, etc.). You can also use wood waste and products that have been outdoors for a year or more for mulching without negative consequences.

Mulching is carried out on the surface of the soil, in the near-trunk circle of trees and shrubs, on flower beds, paths, areas located on slopes, in aisles (when growing vegetables), etc. Depending on the purpose of its use, choose the appropriate mulching material. It can have both natural origin and synthetic (black or colored polyethylene film, agrofibre, geotextile, foil and other covering material).

Mulch of natural origin, in turn, is divided into decaying (plant residues, peat, humus, compost, hay, straw, needles, leaves, bark, wood chips, shavings, sawdust, turf, etc.) and non-degradable (sand, crushed stone, gravel, expanded clay, slate, pebbles, granite or marble chips). Materials from the second group are mainly used for decorative purposes: in addition to their direct purpose, they also play the role of a decorating element in landscape design, when decorating garden and park areas, alpine slides, flower beds, paths, etc.

Covering the soil with synthetic materials is most often used on fruit-bearing beds. On the film, according to the preliminary marking, for planting seedlings, cross-shaped cuts are made, thanks to which the seedlings are placed in the ground. The film adjacent to the soil surface allows you to create a special microclimate on the site: the temperature in the root-containing layer of the soil rises by 1.5 - 2 ° C, limiting the penetration of sunlight prevents the rapid development of weeds on the site, practically eliminating the loss of moisture from the soil by evaporation, rainwater easily seeps into the soil through the cuts in the film, without destroying the structure of the soil and without washing out useful substances from it.

A properly selected covering material helps to significantly increase the productivity of crops due to a sufficient amount of moisture, heat, absence of weeds, and good aeration in the soil layer. In addition, the fruits (strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers) remain clean when in contact with the film, they are practically not damaged by rot and other fungal or infectious diseases. Interestingly, each culture favors a specific film color. So, zucchini and cucumbers successfully grow and develop when mulching the beds with dark covering material. Cabbage loves a white or light-colored film. And for tomatoes, the red shades of the mulching layer are very favorable. To improve the heat-saving properties of the film, practice additional mulching of its surface with a small layer of plant residues, straw or hay.

Organic, non-degradable mulch reliably protects the soil from leaching and weathering, prevents the development of weeds, acts as a decorative material, giving the plantings a special comfort and charm. It does not rot, is not affected by pests, so it can be used for a long period of time. But at the same time, its significant drawback is the lack of useful products that are formed in the process of converting organic substances and significantly increase the level of soil fertility.

For this reason, most farmers, gardeners and gardeners choose mainly organic vegetable products (straw, hay, needles, leaves, cut grass, eggshells and nut shells, peat, etc.) and animals (manure, compost, humus , mullein) origin. Their complex application is the most acceptable option. In addition to preserving soil moisture, protecting against wind and water erosion, protecting against sudden temperature changes and improving thermoregulation (prevents soil overheating in summer and freezing in winter), reducing the number of weeds and their growth, increasing soil fertility, its aerial and water permeability, such a mulching material in the process of its decomposition, it enriches the upper soil layer with valuable nutrients and minerals.

Thanks to the activity of heterotrophic organisms, an active process of processing organic substances of the mulching layer into simpler and more accessible compounds occurs, which are then naturally introduced into the root-containing ball of soil. Under favorable environmental conditions (warm summer weather with sufficient rainfall), soil and terrestrial microorganisms are able to process the entire mulch layer of organic products in a few weeks. Mulch turns into compost, and the resulting humus is a valuable organic food for plants: there is an accumulation of biological nitrogen necessary for the growth and development of crops. This technique is actively used both in industrial plant growing and in small household plots. Thus, mulching contributes to an increase in soil productivity, which creates favorable conditions for the development of crops and obtaining higher yields.

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