Disadvantages of mulching

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Despite what you may think from reading the preceding paragraphs, mulching is not the answer to every gardener's prayer. For one thing, if the soil is not in very good shape, a mulch may do more harm than good by keeping it hidden from view. For another, organic mulches are high in carbon, and the microorganisms breaking them down will use up some of the soil's nitrogen to restore the balance. There is also a danger that in damp areas certain kinds of mulches will provide the perfect home for slugs and similar pests. Inorganic mulches, like black plastic, have their disadvantages, too, and they are discussed below.

Mulches are not a cure-all. Nothing is. But used properly, mulches can be of great benefit to both large and small gardens.

Figure 3.14

ORGANIC MULCHING MATERIALS 1

Organic Mulches

Bagasse-baled crushed sugar cane

Rating

By-product of sugar manufacturing; great water-holding capacity.

Buckwheat hulls

Fair

Apply 2" deep.

Lightweight, high in potash, lasts several years.

Chunk bark

Fair

Small bark chunks used infrequently in vegetable gardens

Makes a durable mulch that stays in place well; especially effective in combination with polyethylene film.

Cocoa bean shells

Fair

Spread 2" deep.

Has a cocoa color.

Coffee grounds

Poor-fair

Apply lightly.

Slightly acid.

Compost

Excellent

Take partially decomposed grass clipings and plant tops from your compost bin.

Save the more decomposed compost to place directly in the soil.

Corncobs (ground)

Good

Apply 3° thick.

Inexpensive, will decay and add nutrients, must add a nitrogen fertilizer

Cornstalks (chopped)

Good

Apply 2* deep.

Add nitrogen fertilizer.

Lawn clippings

Good

Mow grass before the seed ripens to prevent the introduction of weeds and grass seed; apply in a thin, 1-2" layer, cultivate into top of soil.

Green clippings build up heat if applied too thickly.

Leaves

Good

Run through a chipper before applying 2-3* deep

Decomposes slowly, ties up nitrogen.

Manure

Excellent

Apply partially decomposed.

Fresh manure can burn plants; steer manure can contain salts and weed seeds

Mushroom compost

Good

Often available from commercial mushroom growers

Pecan shells Peanut shells Rice hulls

Good

As purchased, apply 1 -2" deep.

Inexpensive, becoming more available, high in nitrogen

Peat moss

Good

Use the larger sized particles; wet before spreading.

Dry peat moss tends to blow away allowing water to run off surface.

Pine needles

Fair to good

Can be used on vegetable gardens.

Good for acid-loving plants, does not affect the soil pH.

Sawdust

Good

Add nitrogen to the soil before applying; new sawdust is high in carbon, low in nitrogen, will draw nitrogen from the soil.

Covers the soi! well; some bagged sawdust manufactuers add nitrogen

Straw, hay, cured grasses

Good

Add nitrogen 2-3" deep.

Long lasting, breaks down slowly, high carbon/nitrogen ratio; used for winter protection.

Wood chips, shavings

Good

Add nitrogen to keep plants from turning yellow.

Chips decompose slowly, can be obtained from local mills.

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Responses

  • aatifa luwam
    What are the cons of mulching a garden?
    7 years ago
  • bill
    What are drawback of mulching vegetables?
    5 years ago
  • lemlem gabriel
    What are disadvantages of mulching?
    2 years ago
  • bernd baum
    What are the limitations of mulching?
    2 years ago
  • HILDA GAWKROGER
    What are the disadvantage of mulching?
    2 years ago
  • neftalem
    What are the disadvanges of mulching?
    1 year ago
  • Gorbulas
    What are advantages and disadvantages of mulching?
    1 year ago
  • melba
    What is dis advantage of mulching?
    11 months ago
  • demsas
    What are adivantage and disadivantage of mulching on coffe farm?
    10 months ago
  • Silke
    WHAT IS ADIVANTAGE AND DISADIVANTAGE OF MICROORGANISMS?
    5 months ago

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