Healthy and structurally sound soils are as complex as they are fertile. A good soil structure should consist of a sufficient amount of minerals. It is important to know what minerals are in your soil, and this can be determined by performing a simple soil test. Depending on what you intend to use the soil for, you’ll want different quantities of different minerals.
As well as minerals, good soil structure should contain earthworms, fungi and bacteria. The soil should not be hard and powdery; but moist and fragile. This way, the soil is permeable for the roots of plants to reach the nutrients they need. Plants that reach deep into a good soil structure with ease will be less susceptible to disease and pests, compared to those that have to fight for every centimetre.
If your soil does not resemble the structurally healthy soil described, it is not being properly mulched with organic matter.
Why Organic Matter?
Soil without organic matter covering is vulnerable to drying out, erosion, and the growth of weeds.
What is Mulch?
Mulch is organic material placed on the surface of the soil (often the cut grass itself). It serves to reduce the likelihood of weeds, fights soil erosion, and improves soil structure by providing the necessary nutrients.
Improving Soil Structure:
Mulching can improve soil structure and health in numerous ways. Because mulch is material laying on the surface of the soil, it reduces evaporation, in effect; retaining moisture. Moist soil reduces soil erosion and the growth of weeds.
Mulching also provides the perfect temperate habitat for earthworms and other organisms to feed on the decomposing mulch and create nutrients for the plants. Moreover, it is not just earthworms whose habitat it is beneficial to maintain, ground beetles and centipedes are also important for the control of pests.
The majority of energy stores in grass are held close to their roots. Thus, cutting the grass does not sacrifice this energy. As the mulch on the surface of the freshly cut grass serves as feed for the grass to regrow, the energy stores are in effect heightened. Therefore, if you are employing a pasture rotation strategy for grazing animals or crops, you can be assured that each time you return to a resting pasture it will be as viable as before.
Mulching allows for steady infiltration of runoff and irrigation as the mulch serves as a protective shield from heavy rain. This means the soil can attain the right amount of water over long periods, rather than being reliant on unpredictable downfalls.
The Importance of Mulching Machines
Mulching is essential to maintaining a healthy soil structure – and the importance of mulching machines has been well documented – but how do you know which one to choose?
For all the best mulching machinery Australia wide, contact Southern Cross Ag Machinery. If you’re in NSW, QLD, Victoria or Tasmania, contact your local dealer to talk about which machine is perfect for you.