This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report.
is material spread over soil. It protects against wind and rain damage. It can
also limit weed growth.
materials for organic mulch can be easy. Small pieces of tree bark or cut up
leaves can be used. Some people use grass cuttings or newspapers. Others use
inorganic material such as shredded rubber from tires.
is important to home gardens but also to farms. Farmers may keep the remains of
maize or other crops on top of the soil. The crop waste creates mulch. This
practice is called conservation tillage.
Organic mulch protects
but also improves the condition of the soil. It provides nutrients for plants.
It also provides a good environment for earthworms and other helpful organisms
in the soil.
the mulch breaks down, it provides material that keeps the soil from getting
hard. This improves the growth of roots and increases the movement of water
through the soil. The mulch also improves the ability of the soil to hold
Experts generally suggest laying mulch to a depth of
about ten centimeters. If finer materials are used, such as cut grass, the
depth should be two and a half to seven and a half centimeters. The same is
true if compost is used for mulch.
much mulch can restrict oxygen and water flow to the soil and harm roots. Also,
do not build up mulch around the base of trees or plants like a volcano. This
could lead to disease or insect damage.
gardeners use leaf mulch -- fine particles of leaves -- instead of wood mulch around
trees, especially young trees. Leaf mulch can also be used in flower beds.
Mulching is one of the best things people can do for their
gardens. It helps keep the soil from getting dry, so it reduces the need for
watering. It also limits temperature changes in the soil.
forms a barrier between the soil and the air. As a result, mulched soil will be
cooler in the summertime. And in winter, it may not freeze as deeply as areas
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.
that's the VOA Special English Agriculture Report. Archives of our reports --
including last week's explanation of compost -- can be found at
voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.