Mulching and its Types – AgriBooks

Mulching and Its Types

Mulching, its types and advantages

Mulching: a protective covering (as of sawdust, compost, or paper) spread or left on the ground to reduce evaporation, maintain even soil temperature, prevent erosion, control weeds, enrich the soil, or keep fruit (such as strawberries) clean.

Advantages of Mulching
  • To prevent weed growth: Mulch blocks out light, and smothers many seeds of weed.
  • To conserve moisture.
  • To cool soil, and keep temperature consistent.
  • To prevent erosion.
  • To add organic material.
  • To protect plants in winter.
  • To keep fruits and vegetables clean.
  • To preserve soil structure.
Types of Mulch

1. Organic Mulch: Organic mulches are anything that are found in nature and can be broken down by soil organisms.

Crop residues or stubble mulch: – Crop residues and other plant waste products (Straw, cloves, leaves, corn, and sawdust) are widely used as mulch. These materials are cheap and often readily available.

  • They permit water to enter in the soil easily, when maintained at adequate level. These materials result in increased water content and reduced evaporation.
  • Amongst the mulches tried light and thin stem material like dry grass was most effective as it provide good canopy, followed by gram stalks and wheat.
  • Use of mulch @ 5 tons/ha is found to be most effective in dry farming area.
  • The mulch should be applied immediately after crop emergence to get optimum advantage.
  • When these mulches are used the other crop operations like inter-culturing are not feasible hence saving in cost of cultivation.
  • Such type mulch degradable and add organic matter in soil result improve soil physical condition.

2. Inorganic Mulch: Inorganic mulches include plastic sheeting, rocks, rubber chips or non-woven geotextiles. It is no degradable, durable mulch but does not improve soil physical condition.

3. Soil or Dust mulch: If the surface of the soil is loosened, it acts as mulch for reducing evaporation. This loose surface of soil is called soil mulch or dust mulch. Inter-culturing creates soil mulch in growing crops and helps in closing deep cracks in Vertisols.

4. Vertical Mulching: Vertical mulching is the creating of holes around the base of a tree or shrub that is stressed. The holes are filled with a mixture of organic material. The back fill and aeration can dramatically improve root growth and reduce or eliminate stress caused in a lawn environment or construction damage.

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