Mulching is a lot like exercise. You don’t have to do it, but the benefits are the worth the effort.
Let’s first get an idea about what mulch is. Mulch is any type of material such as composted manure, wood chips, bark, grass clippings or shredded leaves used to blanket an area, prevent excessive evaporation, slow erosion and enrich the soil.
One of the benefits of mulching is the inhibition of weed germination and growth. By creating a physical barrier, seeds of weeds aren’t able to force their way into the soil. This means less time spent pulling out those troublesome and unsightly plants, and more space and nutrients for the ones you want to grow.
A top layer of organic material helps hold in soil moisture, stopping it from being evaporated too quickly. So even on days when it feels like we’re living in an oven, your plants’ roots will feel cool and hydrated underneath a layer of cover.
As mulch breaks down, it continually adds nutrients to the ground so your plants are able to go back for seconds and thirds.
In areas with bitter winters—i.e. where we live—mulch protects plant roots from Old Man Winter’s attempts to freeze and kill off your garden by preventing wide temperature fluctuations in the soil, and from damage caused by heaving.