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In agriculture and gardening, mulch is a protective cover placed over the soil to retain moisture, reduce erosion, provide nutrients, and suppresses weed growth and seed germination. Mulching in gardens and landscaping mimics the leaf cover that is found on florest floors.

Don't ever lay landscape cloth or weed barrier on the ground before planting. The key to healhy plants is to duplicate nature. If you'd like to garden in a way that makes sense, go back to nature. Mulch all your plants organic matter, place directly on the soil. That will block the sunlight most annual weed seeds need to germinate just as effectively as plastic weed barriers.

Benefits of Mulching    
    When applied correctly, mulch has the following beneficial effects on plants and soil

    Mulch prevents loss of water from the soil being evaporated

    Mulch reduces the growth of weeds, when the mulch material itself is weedfree and applied deep enough to prevent weed 
    germination or to smother existing weeds

    Mulch keeps the soil cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, thus maintaining a more even soil temperature

    Mulches prevent soil splashing, which not only stops erosion but keeps soil borne diseases from splashing onto the plants

    Organic mulches can improve the soil structure. As the mulch decays, the material becomes topsoil. Decaying mulch also adds 
    nutrients to the soil.
    Mulch prevents crusting of the soil surface, thus improving the absorption and movement of water into the soil

    Mulch protects tree trunks and shrubs from damage by lawn equipment

    Mulch helps prevent soil compaction

    Mulch helps add beauty to the landscape by providing a cover of uniform color and texture to the surface

    Plants that are mulched have more roots than plants that are not mulched, because mulched plants will produce additional roots in
    the mulch that surrounds them    

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