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The term mulching indicates the operation of covering the ground with inert material; this operation is carried out for some main reasons, the main one being to avoid the growth of weeds, in flower beds and in the vegetable garden. But mulching can also be carried out to keep the soil humid in the vicinity of plants that are particularly demanding in terms of water, or to keep the substrate cool, or even to prevent winter frost from penetrating excessively deep, damaging the root system of the plants more delicate. Furthermore, in areas with a very hot and dry climate, the layer of mulching it allows to maintain humidity in the superficial layers of the soil for a longer time, with consequent benefit for the plants, and reduced need for watering.
There mulching more often found in the garden it is carried out in the flowerbeds of flowering plants, perennial or annual; it is a layer of inert material to be placed between the plants, in this way the excessive growth of weeds is avoided, since the underlying soil is not exposed to sunlight, with a consequent diminished germination capacity of the seeds fallen on the substrate; moreover, the roots of any weeds are unlikely to be firmly anchored to the ground, therefore they can be eradicated with great ease.
In addition to this purpose, with mulching we also obtain a fresh and humid area on the surface of the cultivation substrate, so as to prevent it from drying out completely during the summer; this effect is particularly interesting when we grow plants that like to have "the foot cool", such as clematis, or some perennials: these plants suffer when the soil dries completely and heats up in summer, due to the action of the sun and drought .
During the winter, the mulch layer shelters from the cold all those perennial plants, or small shrubs, which are not really suitable to be cultivated in areas with prolonged frosts; in fact, the mulching layer moves the root system away from the frost, preventing it from penetrating deeply.