Mulch and cannabis: keep weeds away, protect substrate
Mulching is a fairly well-known practice among outdoor and indoor growers, it protects the roots of plants from temperature range, helps to maintain the right soil moisture, but also to keep weeds away. It is used for many crops but also in gardening and lends itself very well to the growth of healthy cannabis plants offering a lot of benefits at little expense and effort.
Here’s why and how to mulch your marijuana plants.
What is mulch and soil mulch
Mulching is a practice that simulates a completely natural situation that occurs in the woods and in areas of dense vegetation, when the surface of the soil surrounding the tall trees is covered with dry leaves and vegetable waste that naturally isolate the soil. It is perfect to be put in place in a vegetable garden or in fields of various sizes and also in outdoor or indoor potted crops. The mulch used can be natural or artificial, in any case mulching will mean covering the free soil around the plants with material that will not allow light to reach the ground and will form an insulating layer.
Do you know when in autumn the soil of the woods is covered with leaves, twigs and pine needles that form a beautiful layer that creaks under your feet, here is a perfect example of natural mulch that will protect the roots of plants from the cold and from aggression.
For other tips to take care of the roots of your plants you can read this article.
Advantages of mulching
Why insulate the surface of the soil that surrounds our plants? First of all, where the light does not reach, weeds will not proliferate, which could take away space and nourishment from your crop. Secondly, the upper layer allows a water insulation of the soil that will prevent evaporation and dispersion of water in very dry months.
The greatest advantage, however, occurs in the very cold months because the mulch becomes a real blanket for the ground, acting as a thermal insulator and keeping the ground temperature more moderate than the external one. If instead torrential rains arrive it will be a protective mantle that will limit the erosive phenomena that could expose the roots.
The ability to regulate the temperature of the substrate and limit thermal excursions obviously benefits the health of the plants but also that of the microbial flora of the subsoil. Thanks to the protection of the mulch, insects, fungi and beneficial bacteria carry on their activities undisturbed and improve the quality of the substrate, fortifying our cannabis. As you can imagine, it is a technique that is very suitable for outdoor crops, but which can also be adapted very easily to indoor ones.
What to use to mulch cannabis crops
To mulch you have two options, use natural or plastic material. For the first technique, straw, alfalfa hay or clover, pine bark, or a mix of these and vegetable waste such as cut grass, twigs and leaves is usually used. Obviously, it must be material that has not been treated with aggressive chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers, or these pollutants could affect the aromaticity and natural character of your buds.
As far as non-natural mulch is concerned, perforated or perforated plastic sheets are generally used to cover the soil around the plant. They are usually made of polyethylene and can last for many growing cycles. However, there are also biodegradable varieties (such as cellulose films or made with corn starch) which, on the other hand, last only one crop cycle and then must not be removed. The big difference is that using natural mulch the soil will improve biologically over the years while the plastic sheets will only act as protection and will not add anything new.
Why choose straw for mulching
If you want to try this technique to improve the quality of your substrate and protect your plants we recommend starting with straw: a very easy to manage mulching product that can be placed to protect the plants at any time and that creates a intelligent barrier, that is, it allows what is needed to filter and does not isolate excessively (which could lead to stagnation or lack of oxygen and water passage in the substrate). In fact, organically grown straw will not pollute your crops, will ensure a minimum of gas exchanges and make the soil more fertile with minimal effort.