Mulch offers a cheap and
efficient way to reduce weeding and water use, increase soil
structure fertility, crop yield, and crop range.
Sartenejan region is subject to an extended dry season from March to June, with the maximun days
without rain recorded as 102. The use of mulch during this period greatly reduces water stress and
increases plant growth through reducing evaporation and increasing water availability
by encouraging roots to live near the soil
Mulch makes fruit trees like avacardos, mamay, soursop, or mangos, and
ornamental and timber trees, grow faster and stronger and have higher fruit
reduces weed growth and provides nutrients. Mulch also adds humus to the soil, which provides
nutrients and encourages soil animals that keep the soil in good condition.
Mulch can be a dry mulch or
Dry mulch is rotting
down vegetable matter. Mulch is often made by stacking the vegetable matter in large piles, then
adding to trees and the garden later or can be placed directly around plants.
Ja Way we stack cut branches and other
vegetable matter into piles. This is quick efficient way to make dry mulch. In our
orchard and garden areas we simply place any vegetation for mulching directly under the
trees in a 3 to 5 foot circle. The increase in growth is remarkable with avocado trees
growing vigorously even during moderate droughts.
Any reasonable size vegetation, up to chopped small
tree branches, can be applied directly as mulch piles under trees. However, to apply mulch to vegetable crops it must be left to rot into smaller
Within a year in the
tropical climate bushes mostly are rotted down (composted). A garden fork can then be used to
separate the larger unrotted branches from the smaller mulch. The unrotted branches are simply
added to new mulch heaps.
Dry mulching not only
returns the nutrients from the leaves and branches to the soil but also makes new
bacteria rotting the wood and leaves take nitrogen from the air and fixes it into nitrogen
fertiliser. The larger
branches in dry mulch are slow to rot and make the mulch last longer.
Living mulch is generally a crop
interplanted or undersown with a main crop, usually trees, and intended to serve the functions of
weed suppression, maintenance and increase in soil fertility, and lowering of soil
Living mulch requires and uses water
and without irrigation is useful only during the wet season.
Many plants cannot fix nitrogen and
rely on nitrogenous fertiliser from rotting vegetation. However, some plants are very good at fixing nitrogen
including many legumes such as beans, hicima, etc.
Nitrogen fixing living mulches work in
- Takes nitrogen from the air and makes it into fertiliser for
crops or trees.
- Recycles soil nutrients.
- Increases soil nutrient availability.
A special type of living mulch is the
use of small trees where branches are cut occasionally for dry mulch to place around developing
ornamenatals or orchard trees.
Please refer to the Wikipedia site on Living and other