Using and applying Sugar Cane Mulch to the vegetable and flower garden to retain moisture, suppress weeds and add organic matter to the soil has lots of benefits, and is a simple and effective process.
Available for sale in compressed bales, this is a mulch that has become popular with Australian Gardeners and now comes cut, processed and baled into compressed wrapped packages for easy transportation.
What is sugar cane mulch?
It is a by product of the sugar industry.
Used as a mulch, sugar cane is great for retaining water as well as adding organic matter to the soil as it breaks down. Also used widely as a weed suppresser.
Some sugar cane mulch is certified as 100% organic other types are not.
How to use Sugar Cane Mulch
You can buy it in bales and it is already chopped and ready to apply. A good sugar cane mulch will have almost no dust in it, however take the normal safety precautions when applying.
A bale like this weights around 12kg and will cover around, 8 square metres at 5cm
- Start by weeding the area.
- Before applying the mulch, apply a fertiliser suited to the garden, aged cow manure suits nearly all plants, chicken manure suits a lot of plants, however not all.
- You can also use compost if you have it available. Water ninth fertiliser or manure.
- Whatever manure you use make sure it aged and not fresh as fresh manure can damage the roots of many plants.
- You can spread the mulch easily by hand or use a rake for larger areas.
- Water in the fertiliser before mulching, and then again after. Watering sugar can mulch after applying will prevent it from blowing away.
- Every month or two check the depth of the mulch, once it begins to get a little thin, apply some more manure or fertiliser, water in and then a thinner layer of mulch, maybe around 2.5 cms (1 inch) to bring it back to the required level.
Sugar cane Mulch will not break down as quickly as Lucerne Mulch or Pea Straw, an advantage or disadvantage depending on the application.
Sugar Cane Mulch and Termites.
More theories here than termites. One is that the chemicals in sugar cane mulch will deter termites, so what about organic sugar cane mulch ? Another is that termites will eat sugar cane mulch the same as any other mulch. A third is that because it breaks down fairly quickly it is less likely to attract termites than wood chips. The jury is out on that one……
However, Tea Tree Mulch is said to be a deterrent.
Benefits of sugar cane as a mulch
- helps control weeds
- is usually weed free and will not germinate
- allows good water penetration to the soil
- provides a cool root run
- encourages earth worms
- easy to apply
- sugar cane mulch decomposes completely and adds nutrients to the soil
- helps keep soil temperature higher during colder months enhancing growth and microbal activity.
- sugar cane mulch is available in handy compressed bales (chopped) wrapped for easy transport
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