Having the time to enjoy our gardens, with minimal time spent on chores such as watering and weeding, is the gardening utopia.
And to help achieve it, we suggest the mighty mulch!
Mulches are loosely defined as coverings of material used over the soil surface in our borders and containers, and offer the following benefits:
- Improving the soil around plants
- Providing a decorative background to show plants off to their best
- Giving the garden a neat, tidy appearance
- Retaining and conserving water
- Suppressing weed growth
- Protecting plants from temperature extremes
They are split into two main groups – biodegradable and non-biodegradable – and the benefits you’ll see depend on the type of mulch you choose to use.
Biodegradable mulches such as leaf mould, garden compost, wood chippings, bark, compost and well-rotted manure break down gradually after application, releasing nutrients into the soil, feeding plants and improving soil structure. (You should avoid fresh pine bark though as this is toxic.)
Non-biodegradable mulches such as slate, shingle, pebbles, stone chippings and glass chippings don’t improve the soil or feed plants but they do offer all the other benefits, in addition to looking particularly decorative.
Mulches are best applied from mid to late Spring and in Autumn, onto weed-free soil which is warm and moist. For maximum effectiveness, they should be between 5-7.5cm (2-3in) thick, and they can be applied around new plantings, to specimen plants, or to entire beds and borders.
Mulches of compost or manure will need topping up every year, but others such as gravel or bark will last longer and will probably only need topping up every couple of years – as a general rule, the bigger the ‘bits’, the longer your mulch will last!
The final consideration when using mulches is to ensure that it is suitable for and in keeping with its surroundings – for example chipped bark looks good for woodland or wildlife areas, and stone chippings or gravel suit a rock garden.
We have a great range of mulching products in stock so visit us, choose your favourite – and get mulching!