Mulching 
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Using mulch is a good gardening habit but not mandatory; the benefits, however, make it worth the effort. A really good job of mulching your garden usually offers these benefits:

  • Inhibits weed germination and growth. (Weeds are not only unsightly, but they also steal resources from desirable garden plants!)

  • Holds in soil moisture, protecting your plants from drying out quickly

  • Moderates soil-temperature fluctuations (This benefit is especially valuable during that turbulent-weather period in spring when you don’t want your plants to be stressed.)

  • In cold-winter areas, protects plant roots from winter cold and helps prevent frost-heaving, in which plants are literally pushed out of the ground by the natural expansion and contraction of the soil as it cools off and heats up

  • In hot-summer areas, helps keep plant roots cooler

  • Depending on what you use, adds a bit of welcome nutrition to your garden as it breaks down

 

The “right” or “best” mulch to use depends on your climate, the part of the country you’re in, and the part of the yard you’re using it in. Some mulches are free, while you can purchase others locally. Experiment to find out what you and your plants prefer.