Evaporation happens when water is heated enough to turn into a gas and expand into the atmosphere. When Frannie is gardening, she wants to make sure that her plants get enough water but that it’s not wasted by evaporating in the hot summer sun.
In the past, she learned the best times of the day to water are dawn and dusk when it isn’t so hot. But there’s another common and inexpensive option that she’d like to share with you: Mulch.
Mulch is a material that you use to cover the soil around your plants. Many people use it in landscaping because it comes in a variety of colors and textures, but it also does several important things to help keep your plants healthy and strong.
- Evaporation Prevention. This is one of the most important purposes mulch serves in this hot weather. Mulch absorbs the heat from the sun and prevents it from reaching the soil that the plant is growing in. Because the soil is cooler, it is able to take in and retain more moisture than it would were it exposed.
- Weed Prevention. No one likes weeds. They take up all the water and good nutrients in the soil that we want for our own flowers and food. Mulch, by stopping the sunlight from reaching the ground, starves out weeds and they are unable to grow in that area. It also stops any new seeds from landing in your garden.
- Soil Improvement. Ok, so we know that the soil in our garden is cooler with more moisture and fewer weeds, but it also builds up the soil. All types of mulch prevent the wind from eroding the soil but organic or natural mulch can go one step further by enhancing the soil with nutrients as they decompose. An area mulched with pine needles, for example, becomes acidic as the mulch decomposes and becomes suited for acid-loving plants like azaleas.