A lot of us spend a considerable about of time caring for and watering our plants. While the majority of the time, the sun is a great friend to our plant life, it can also dry out your plants and soil through evaporation. As a way to combat this issue and keep your plants and soil moist for longer, we use mulch.
What is mulch?
Mulch is an organic matter that’s spread over your garden beds and surrounding plants in order to protect your plant life and soil and well as support healthy growth in your garden.
The best mulches are generally organic and can come from a variety of garden and food by-products, which we will cover below.
Mulching has many benefits, including:
- Reducing the water loss from your soil through evaporation
- Weed prevention of up to 50-70%
- Controlling soil erosion
- Reducing need for chemical sprays
- Increases biological activity in soil, e.g. worms and good bacteria
- Improves plant health
- Improves the appearance of your garden
What to use
- Compost material is highly beneficial for your garden’s plants and soil. Generally, the older the better as broken down compost has a higher level of nutrients.
- Old wood chips, such as pine or eucalyptus. The wood chips will need to be old, as fresh woodchips can strip your soil of nitrogen.
- Dry leaves, lawn clippings or plant material (twigs and thin branches can be shredded using a lawn mower)
- Straw and hay.
When it comes to mulch, bigger is better. Coarse mulches are proven to be much more effective at allowing water to pass through the mulch and into the soil, whereas finer mulches tend to absorb a substantial amount of water themselves, reducing the amount available for the soil. Generally speaking, mulch material should be at least 5mm in size for the best results.
BYO is best
Using a compost bin and making your own high-nutrient mulch requires little effort from you, but saves a lot of energy cost from transportation as well as money to buy pre-made mulch from a store. Allow the mulch to mature for a few weeks before applying it to your plants
Prepare your soil for mulching
For the best results from your mulching efforts, ensure the area your garden area is free from weeds and wet the soil prior to laying your mulch down. Apply your mulch to a depth of around 75mm and avoid mulching right up to tree trunks or plant stems as the mulch can cause rotting or burn the plants.
Mulching is an effective way to improve the health and moisture or your soil and plants, creating a luscious and appealing garden for your yard. Mulching is accessible to us all (with a little effort), and it not only saves water, and therefore saves us money. But it’s a great excuse to get out in the yard and into the sunshine. For more tips on how to care for your yard and turf or improving the look and feel of your backyard, visit the Go Turf website or find us on Facebook here.