mulch

[muhlch]
noun
1.
a covering, as of straw, compost, or plastic sheeting, spread on the ground around plants to prevent excessive evaporation or erosion, enrich the soil, inhibit weed growth, etc.
verb (used with object)
2.
to cover with mulch.

Origin:
1650–60; noun use of obsolete mulch (adj.), Middle English molsh soft, Old English myl(i)sc mellow; cognate with dialectal German molsch soft, overripe

nonmulched, adjective
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World English Dictionary
mulch (mʌltʃ)
 
n
1.  half-rotten vegetable matter, peat, etc, used to prevent soil erosion or enrich the soil
 
vb
2.  (tr) to cover (the surface of land) with mulch
 
[C17: from obsolete mulch soft; related to Old English mylisc mellow; compare dialect German molsch soft, Latin mollis soft]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

mulch
1650s, from M.E. molsh (adj.) "soft, moist" (early 15c.), from O.E. melsc, milisc "mellow, sweet" (cf. Du. mals "soft, ripe," O.H.G. molawen "to become soft," Ger. mollig "soft"), from PIE base *mel- "to rub, grind." As a verb, attested from 1802. Related: Mulching.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Odds and ends go into the wood chipper to make heating fuel, and sawdust is
  spread around the trees for mulch.
The farm relies as much as possible on such predators as well as good mulch.
In a minute, the spider took off and hid under some mulch presumably to happily
  munch on some flies.
Water your lawn in the early morning or at night to avoid losses from
  evaporation and use mulch to trap moisture.
Synonyms
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