Benefits of Using Mulch in your Garden
What is Mulch?
Mulch is a material that is used over a soils surface or around plants as a protective layer, which help to retain moisture and prevent weeds in the garden. The ideal mulch should be solid enough to stop the growth of weeds, while still being open and loose enough to enable water and air exposure to penetrate through to the soil below. Mulch plays a key part in ensuring a successful garden. To name a few, mulches you can use to assist with this are Water Saving Mulch and Garden Mulch.
Mulch offers many major benefits, and here are some of the main examples:
- Reduces weed growth by protecting the soils surface from light.
- Reduces water loss, which helps maintain moisture on the soils surface and reduces time spent watering.
- Controls the soil temperature, keeping it warmer on cold nights and cooler on hot days.
- Creates a healthier garden by adding organic matter to your soil, making it more resistant to pests and diseases, saving money on pest control.
- Provides slow release nutrients, preventing vitamin loss in plants, saving money on fertilisers.
- Provides a clean surface for your produce to fall onto to be harvested.
- Improves soil drainage and structure as it decomposes.
- Salvages waste materials, eg: organic mulches, grass clippings and leaves.
- Shelters plants from mud during watering or rain.
- Prevents erosion and soil compaction particularly from foot traffic on pathways and play areas.
- Advances the look of your garden, making it visually appealing.
- Provides a home for plant-friendly insects, while repelling the ones you don’t want
Choosing the Correct Mulch
Things that are important to consider when buying mulch are cost, availability, practicality of application and importantly the appearance it creates in the garden. There are lots of materials to choose from including whether its organic or inorganic, as well as different colours and textures depending on the look you are after. Organic mulches decompose over time giving increased nutrients to the soil, but often need topping up. Some examples include Water Saving Mulch, Pea Straw and Sugar Cane Mulch. Whereas inorganic mulches tend to last longer but don’t directly impact the soil. These include Red Gum Chips and Black and Red Mulch.
A Few Tips for Mulching
Anytime is a good time to mulch. If this is your first time using mulch, it is important to weed the area thoroughly before starting, removing roots and all of the weeds. If you already have a layer of mulch in your garden, be sure to loosen it up with a rake before adding on a new layer. Although there are many benefits, it can also be detrimental to apply too much mulch to your garden. Mulching more than 3 inches or 8cm deep can bury and smother your plants, reducing the amount of water and oxygen reaching the roots. It is important to avoid this happening as it will affect the growth and health of your plants.