Preventing Evaporation By Using Mulches

To prevent the water held in the soil from evaporating the soil needs a cover. In fact you should feel uneasy when you see bare land-it’s like skin with a layer missing.Mulch image

The most effective way to protect soil is to use mulches.

Mulch is a layer over the soil which protects it from the damaging effects of wind, sun and water.

Mulches have several special functions and multiple benefits:

  • They reduce soil evaporation and therefor inhibit soil salination and general water loss, thereby saving water
  • They increase water infiltration by absorbing water on the surface and holding it until it has time to be absorbed
  • Mulches reduce erosion from gravity, wind and water
  • They regulate soil temperatures by reducing extremes of summer heat and winter cold
  • They suppress weeds, which also rob the soil of water
  • Mulches supply nutrients and organic matter to soils
  • Mulches are an excelent way of filtering grey water
  • They are one way of using up your garden surplus

Living mulches include:

  • Cover crops
  • Legumes
  • Pumpkins
  • Potatoes
  • Native groundcovers
  • Closely placed herbs and plants

Deceased mulches include:

  • Manures
  • Straw
  • Leaves
  • Seaweed
  • Lawn clippings
  • Woodclips
  • Sawdust
  • Pine needles
  • Compost
  • Woollen carpets
  • Newspapers

 

Taken from an extract of: Earth users guide to Permaculture