Mulching is the usage of materials that are porous such as old manure, compost, wood chips, straw or gravel on the surface of the soil to protect the layer by controlling the micro-climate. The mulching technique has several purposes such as; it is used to reduce weed growth, protection against heat and cold, supplement the soil with nutrients and to reduce water loss by minimizing evapotranspiration (Knoop et al. 2012). Two types of mulch can be used: organic mulch which contains materials such as hay, leaves, needles, shells and wood; or artificial mulch where plastic or geotextile materials are used. Both types have different purposes for different areas. Moreover, organic mulch creates favorable conditions for insects like earthworms to…show more content… Design
• Organic mulch is spread as a layer over the soil, where the thickness of the mulch relies upon the type of material used and the conditions of the local area. Usually, this differs between 1–12 cm because the better the mulching material the slender the layer.
• When selecting the material one must consider not to smother or compress the soil because it limits plant growth since their roots need space to breathe.
• In addition, the mulch should not be in direct contact with plant stems (Knoop et al. 2012).
• Older mulch should be taken away whereby over the years a change in mulch type is recommended. This technique is similar to conservation agriculture.
Costs and benefits
• The costs for mulching depend on the local availability of materials. Leaves and hulls generally do not have a price, yet to transport the material creates costs.
• In order to know costs for mulching material required, one will have to make careful calculations. For instance, an area of 50 m2 will require using 1 m3 of mulch to cover the area with a coating of 2 cm.
• Improves soil