Disadvantages of mulching

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 Mulches

Bagasse-baled crushed sugar cane


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

Buckwheat hulls


Apply 2" deep.

Lightweight, high in potash, lasts several years.

Chunk bark


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


Spread 2" deep.

Has a cocoa color.

Coffee grounds


Apply lightly.

Slightly acid.



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)


Apply 3° thick.

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

Cornstalks (chopped)


Apply 2* deep.

Add nitrogen fertilizer.

Lawn clippings


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.



Run through a chipper before applying 2-3* deep

Decomposes slowly, ties up nitrogen.



Apply partially decomposed.

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

Mushroom compost


Often available from commercial mushroom growers

Pecan shells Peanut shells Rice hulls


As purchased, apply 1 -2" deep.

Inexpensive, becoming more available, high in nitrogen

Peat moss


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.



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


Add nitrogen 2-3" deep.

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

Wood chips, shavings


Add nitrogen to keep plants from turning yellow.

Chips decompose slowly, can be obtained from local mills.

Growing Vegetables In Containers For Beginners

Growing Vegetables In Containers For Beginners

Start Saving Money By Discovering How To Grow Your Own Fruit and Vegetables At Home From Start To Finish. Container gardening does not have to be expensive. With a bit of imagination you can reuse containers and items that are around your home and start your own container garden on a minimal budget. Of course, if you prefer you can buy containers from the store and make your container garden a feature in your home.

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  • aatifa luwam
    What are the cons of mulching a garden?
    6 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
    What are the disadvantage of mulching?
    1 year ago
  • neftalem
    What are the disadvanges of mulching?
    7 months ago
  • Gorbulas
    What are advantages and disadvantages of mulching?
    6 months ago
  • melba
    What is dis advantage of mulching?
    5 months ago
  • demsas
    What are adivantage and disadivantage of mulching on coffe farm?
    4 months ago

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