Mulching is the process or practice of covering the agricultural field or soil to make more favourable conditions for plant growth so that there will be efficient crop production.
In dryland areas, it is important to save water & it is a water saving technique for conserving soil moisture.
Mulching reduces the frequency of irrigation & it is also very useful in heavy rainfall areas to reduce the impact of rain & prevent soil erosion.
Mulching can be classified into two major categories such as organic & inorganic.
Organic mulching means uses of plant sources like compost, grass etc. and inorganic mulching means sources derived from plastic or other equivalent resources.
Plastic mulch is useful as it is completely impermeable to water.
Soil should be well tilled and apply a little quantity of water before mulching.
Straw & hay are the most commonly used mulch material because it has long life as compared to other materials & they are also very useful to the crop as they make the soil extremely fertile upon decomposition.
It is recommended that apply nitrogen fertilizer before straw mulching because straw is high in carbon content & steals the nitrogen from the soil.
Mulching can also provide a barrier to soil pathogens & it is useful as it maintains a warm temperature even during night time which enables seeds to germinate quickly.
By using mulching, there is early germination in almost 2-3 days.