Garden Mulch – Mulch types and supplies
If you choose the right mulch, and apply it correctly you can save water as well as reduce the amount of time spent on weeding. The type that use for a vegetable garden will be different to landscaping mulches. And although in a vegetable garden, tomatoes love mulch, onions don’t like it at all. You can use mulch right up to the stems of some plants, while you need to keep it well away from others.
Supplies of mulch can come from your own garden, local councils or from bulk suppliers and garden centers.
Mulching can also be used to improve the appearance of your garden. Organic mulches are those that used to be living material, such as bark, straw, leaves, grass clippings and pine needles. These organic mulches improve the soil by adding nutrients as they decompose and encouraging earthworm activity. The use of mulch is one of the most important those strategies in creating a efficient garden
If you’re looking for a way to save lots of time in the garden, look no further. Mulching your garden beds can help save water but as well as reduce the amount of time spent on weeding. Mulch can also be used to improve the appearance of your garden.
Organic mulches are those that used to be living material, such as bark, straw, leaves, grass clippings and pine needles. These organic mulches improve the soil by adding nutrients as they decompose and encouraging earthworm activity. The use of mulch is one of the most important those strategies in creating a efficient garden.
Why a good covering of mulch ?
a. prevents weed germination and growth and so eliminates a wasteful source of water use.
b. minimizes evaporation from the soil surface and hence reduces losses from bare soil areas.
c. helps to maintain an even soil temperature.
d. can help improve soil structure and properties such as water holding capacity and encourage microbiological and worm activity.
Generally 30 millimeters or 3 inches of mulch is the best depth. Less than this is not effective in preventing weeds and maintaining moisture and temperature levels. More than this can prevent water penetration.
Mulches fall into two categories, both will help retain water
Landscape Mulches are mainly decorative, even sizes, slow to break down, do not move around.
Soil conditioning Mulches add nutrients to the soil, break down quickly.
Our favorite (at the moment) is sugarcane mulch. However their are lots of different mulches to choose from and some suite some applications better than others.
Left over from the sugar cane harvest, rich in organic nitrogen and quick to decompose. Read More about Sugarcane Mulch
Breaks down very quickly, but is rich in nitrogen
Tea Tree Mulch
Slow to break down and is said to deter some pests such as termites
Pine Bark and Red Gum Chips
Heavier and slow to break down. Contains do real nutrients. Used widely in commercial situations. Read More about Pine Bark Mulch
Pebbles, Gravel and Stone
Again they are heavy, and naturally they have no nutrients and will not break down. Can be very decorative. Heat reflective but let all of the moisture through. (no black plastic please)
This is the mulch produced by tree pruners. It tends to draw down nitrogen and contains photo toxins which may act as a growth inhibitor. Green mulch should be left to decompose for a year or two before use.
So the best mulch will depend on the purpose you need it for, for soil improvement and water retention look at those that decompose quickly. For weed suppression, dense mulches that are longer lasting. For decorative mulch look for long lasting types that will eventually decompose in most cases.
Pebbles stones and gravels are fairly permanent and sometimes difficult to remove if circumstances change