This type of mulch is then transported to the client where it can be sold to the end-user, used by the client in specific applications or used as biofuel.
Reasons why you need mulch
Retains soil moisture
Mulched soil contains moisture for longer periods due to less evapotranspiration. Mulching prevents weed growth, thus saving water.
Prevents soil erosion
Mulching provides a layer acting as a barrier breaking the fall of rainwater and therefore lessening the force of water impact on the soil. Soil erosion is also reduced due to less runoff and a higher infiltration of rainwater.
Provides for temperature and moisture moderation in soil
Mulching provides a protective layer, decreasing exposure of soil to weather elements such as the wind and extreme temperatures. This promotes moderate soil temperatures and moisture content, which in turn encourage earthworm activity.
Suppresses weed germination and growth
Mulch acts as a barrier, limiting sunlight finding its way to stimulate weed germination. Insufficient level of sunlight can cause weed seeds to remain dormant or die after germination. Suppression of weeds contributes to higher yields in fruit, flower and crop production, by decreasing root competition for nutrients.
Alternative to herbicides in weed control
Nowadays, there is increasing pressure on producers to reduce their use of herbicides. Mulching provides an environmentally friendly and cost-saving solution for controlling weeds.
Enhances microbiology in soil
Applying organic mulches increases the organic matter in the soil. Mulching prevents soil compaction and improves the porosity of soil by improved water infiltration. Higher soil porosity is important for absorption of nutrients, as well as earthworm activity. By increasing earthwork activity, the structure and fertility of the soil are improved. Soil fertility is improved by worm castings that are richer than the surrounding soil, containing nutrients changed into forms that are more effectively absorbed by plants. Burrows caused by earthworm activity create passages for air, water and roots. Earthworms mix the soil as they create burrows, soil organic matter and humus.
Reduces volume of applied fertiliser
A layer of mulch keeps nutrients from being washed away. Organic mulch can release nutrients into the soil as the organic material decomposes. Studies carried out on apples found that mulching improves fruit size as well as calcium and potassium concentration. Studies have found that mulch also improves the absorption of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium from the soil.
Improves yield and nutrition in fruit production
With improved soil biology, the spreading of roots through a larger soil volume increases the absorption of nutrients, which leads to an increased yield. Studies have found that mulching improves average fruit size and a high return bloom in the consecutive season.
Improves root and vegetative growth
Improved soil conditions promote root growth, and in turn have a positive effect on vegetative growth. Studies conducted by Baxter (1970) on peach and apple trees in Australia showed up to 63% improvement to non-mulched trees.
Using mulch in your garden
Practical tips for using mulch in your garden
- Apply mulch 50 – 100 mm thick
- Do not work fresh wood chips into the soil
- Do not plant in wood chips directly