the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
is important to farmers. Mulch is a protective cover of material that is spread
on top of soil. It is usually made out of organic material, like crop wastes.
Farmers may keep the remains of maize or other crops on top of the soil. This
creates mulch on the soil surface. The plant remains help protect the soil
against wind and water damage. This is called conservation tillage.
is one of the best things people can do for their plants. Mulch not only
protects the soil against wind and water damage. It also helps keep the soil
from getting dry, and reduces the need for watering plants. It also limits
temperature changes in the soil. And it stops unwanted plants, or weeds, from
mulch improves the condition of soil. As the mulch breaks down, it provides
material which keeps the soil from getting hard. This improves the growth of
roots and increases the movement of water through the soil. It also improves
the ability of the soil to hold water. Organic mulch contains nutrients for
plants. It also provides a good environment for earthworms and other helpful
organisms in the soil.
Finding organic mulch materials can be
easy. Small pieces of tree bark and cut up leaves can be used. Grass cuttings
are also a good mulch for plants. Using newspapers for mulch also works well in
The best time to add mulch depends on
your goal. Mulch provides a thick barrier between the soil and the air. This
helps to reduce temperature changes in the soil. As a result, in the
summertime, mulched soil will be cooler than other soil. Mulched areas usually
warm up more slowly in the spring and cool down slowly in autumn. In winter,
the mulched soil may not freeze as deeply as other soil.
can be added late in autumn to help moderate the effects of winter weather. The
best time is after the ground has frozen but before the coldest weather
arrives. Spreading mulch before the ground has frozen may attract small animals
searching for a warm place to spend the winter. Delaying the spreading should
prevent this problem. The animals will probably find another place to
And that's the VOA Special English
Agriculture Report, written by George Grow. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of
our reports are at voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Jim Tedder.