What is Mulch?
‘Mulch’, by definition, is a protective layer of material that is spread 70mm to 150mm deep on top of exposed soil between plants.
Mulch is by far the best way to preserve the moisture in your soil it can also help to prevent weed growth and it can be a very effective way of feeding your soil and regulating growing temperatures. Mulch can be almost anything: woodchips, compost, decorative pebbles, straw, grass clippings, leaves, sawdust and so on.
Nature abhors uncovered and exposed ground. Walk out into nature and look down. In a healthy ecosystem you will find very little, if any, bare ground. Nature will always try to cover soil with either plant growth, decaying matter or even inorganic matter. Trees drop their leaves and cover the floor of a forest for example. You’ll want to imitate the same process in your garden.
Mulching is one of the most important ways to protect and maintain healthy landscaped plants, shrubs and flowers. Some of the main benefits of correct mulching are:
- Mulch, aids in the prevention of weed growth
- Organic mulches add to the nutrient base of the soil, and encourage microbial activity which helps improve the soil quality and fertility over time.
- Mulch, aids in moisture retention for your plants and gardens, therefore you don’t have to water as much
- Mulch, adds to the aesthetic appeal of your landscape, well applied mulches make your gardens look great and well maintained.
Ecoscape Solutions Recommends applying mulch 75 mm – 100 mm thick. Organic mulches need topping up as required over time as they naturally break down and feed the soil.
Some people like to spread out a layer of plastic underneath before they apply mulch. This isn’t a good idea because it prevents water infiltration into the soil as well as suffocating the soil and microbes of oxygen. As the organic mulch breaks down over time you are left with a growing medium on top of the plastic, which will harbour weed growth anyway. Defeating the purpose of mulching in the first place.
The best time to apply mulch is in Spring when the soil moisture is good and before the long hot summer.