The natural and gradual decomposition of dead organic matter that has been evenly spread on top of the ground. Mulching enriches and protects garden soil, providing a better environment for plants. It protects the soil from erosion, prevents weed growth, reduces compaction from heavy rain and maintains even soil temperature. Examples of organic mulch are grass clippings, straw and bark chips. Inorganic materials can also be used–including stones, brick chips and plastic.