Will mulching over hard compacted soil help it to soften?
I haven't mulched my beds for a good 2 years. Since then the mulch has pretty much been broken down or blown/washed away in many areas. The soil in those areas is now tan, hard-packed dirt. I really don't have the time to add organic matter and till all the beds, not to mention the damage it might do to plant roots that are now closer to the surface.
Do you think if I add 3" of mulch over the dirt, it will eventually make the dirt softer and more absorbent again?
I was going to use bark mulch to prevent nutrient leeching from the soil, but now I'm wondering if the extra activity necessary to break down heart wood mulch would actually increase natural aeration in the soil as microbes work to break the wood down. I could also spray some liquid
fertilizer on the heartwood mulch to help the decomposing.
What do you think?