WHAT IS A MULCH COVER?
A mulch cover is one of nature’s finest preventative measures against pests and environmental harm.
Some would even argue that, in nature, mulch is the very first of the different layers of soil. In other words, mulch is such an integral part of a healthy environment for plants, that it can be seen in nature where it covers and protects the soil beneath it.
A mulch cover supports the microbial activity in your soil. It ‘covers’ it with an essential top layer, which assists in maintaining healthy conditions It keeps the soil moist, and prevents water from evaporating too quickly. A mulch cover also keeps the top layer of the soil cool, allowing the roots of your plant to grow closer to the surface. The top layer of soil is usually warm and dry because of exposure to the sun (or grow lights), and your plant’s roots will seldom be comfortable to explore it.
A good mulch cover will suppress the growth of unwanted weeds around your cannabis plants and also assists in keeping pests at bay. The fungus gnat, for example, struggles to lay eggs in the top layer of soil if there is a mulch cover in its way. For more information on fungus gnats, please see the section on fungus gnats.
There are endless ways of creating a mulch cover. Essentially, a mulch cover can be defined as the “covering of the top layer of soil”. Below is a list of some of the different types of mulch cover that can be used for your cannabis plants.
Find one that works best for you and your grow
- Green mulch
Green mulch generally consists of green grass clippings or green leaves. Green mulch will compost over time and this could affect the PH of your soil and draw nitrogen from the top layer of soil. We therefore suggest being very careful with green mulch and do not recommend it for amateur growers.
- Brown mulch
Brown mulch is made up of sticks, twigs, leaves and other dead plant matter. It attracts fungi due to its acidity. A correct mulch balance is integral to maintaining the ideal PH. Brown mulch is best used during the flowering phase of your cannabis plant.
- Organic materials
By now you’re starting to get the hang of it. Making a mulch cover is really quite simple. Organic materials such as straw, grass cuttings, peach pips, leaves, and wood chips are popular mulches.
- Rooibos mulch
Another great local mulch cover is rooibos. It is made from the leftover rooibos waste twigs from the curing and processing of rooibos Tea.
Rooibos mulch helps to keep snails and other harmful insects away from your Cannabis plants.
Our favorite type of mulch cover is extremely simple and highly effective. Use small stones (5-6mm) to create a mulch layer on top of your soil – not more than 5cm thick. This type of mulch dries extremely fast, keeping the soil beneath it moist and cool.
It is also the most effective mulch cover against fungus gnats as the gnats do not like laying their eggs in the quick drying inorganic stone mulch layer.
- Plastic mulch
‘Plasticulture’ is a real thing. It involves the covering of the ground surrounding your plants with plastic.
Now usually we wouldn’t support the use of plastics – at all. Here at Just Cannabis we strive to be eco-friendly at all times. Even the packaging of our soil is made with 100% biodegradable ‘plastic’!
A clever patron, however, recently changed our minds when he used the packaging bags of the Just Cannabis soil to create his own mulch covers.