Keeping your garden mulched is essential for creating healthy soil and maintaining a water efficient garden!
- Mulch keeps your soil cool, suppresses weeds, adds nutrients and reduces run off and soil movement.
- Mulch can reduce evaporation from soil by up to 70%.
- Any mulch is better than no mulch
6 Steps to Marvellous Mulching
- Remove weeds.
- Moisten the soil thoroughly.
- If water is running off the surface fork through some compost.
- Lay your mulch depending on the type you have selected.
- Don’t mulch right up to the stems of your plants as this can cause fungal disease… no one wants that! Leave a gap of at least 4cm.
- Top up your organic mulch every year or more frequently if your mulch has broken down a lot.
Learn about different types of mulch!
Pine bark, pebbles and even recycled concrete and bricks makes a long lasting mulch and is excellent for preventing weeds. It also is very good for keeping the soil cool, particularly if it is lightly coloured. This mulch won’t improve the soil much and in the short term will take nitrogen out of the soil. This can be compensated for by spreading some nitrogen rich fertiliser on the soil before spreading the mulch. This sort of mulch can be 5-7cm deep.
Wood chips are also excellent for reducing weeds. This sort of mulch is usually laid 2.5cm – 5cm deep. One danger with mulches is watering too often, bringing roots up to the surface of the soil under the mulch. If the mulch goes or the surface soil dries out, when the roots are too shallow, the plants die. The solution is less frequent watering.
Sawdust and euca can stop water getting into the soil, so don’t make it too thick - about 2.5cm deep. Don’t forget to top it up each year when the ground is starting to dry out. Pea straw, cow and horse manure and compost make excellent mulches because they improve the soil and attract worms.
Look for the Smart Approved WaterMark logo on a product website or packaging so you know that the product you are buying is water efficient, durable, fit for purpose and environmentally sustainable. Products endorsed by the Smart Approved WaterMark have been reviewed by a credible, robust Independent Expert Panel.