Why You Need to Add Mulch to Your Garden
What is mulch and why should I use it?
Mulch also known as Top Dressing is a material that is spread on the surface of the soil to protect it. Mulch is a great way to improve the health of your garden.
- Moisture retention
It helps the soil retain moisture, which can be especially important in Australia where the summers can be quite hot and dry.
- Cooling effect
Mulch also helps keep the soil cool in the summer and protects it from the harsh sun.
- Natural fertilser
Additionally, mulch acts as a natural fertiliser, providing your plants with valuable nutrients they need to thrive as it breaks down.
How often should I mulch?
Mulching your garden should be done at least twice a year, once in the late spring and again in the early Autumn. If you mulch only once a year, late spring is best as mulching too early in the spring can cause soil temperatures to rise too quickly and prevent young shoots from emerging.
If your mulch starts to look unattractive, you may need to top dress more often as mulch does break down over time. You should also mulch more frequently if you live in an area with a harsh climate or frequent rain, as this helps protect your soil from extreme temperatures and moisture levels.
Can I use too much mulch?
Yes! It’s important to note however that mulching too deeply can actually have adverse effects on plants since it can deprive them of oxygen needed for healthy root growth. When mulching, try to spread it no deeper than five centimetres. Additionally, while mulch can help retain moisture in the summer months, it’s important to water your plants regularly regardless of how much mulch you apply.
What should I look for in a mulch?
When mulching, it’s important to use mulch that is specifically designed for gardens. Different types of mulch offer different benefits, and the best mulch for your garden depends on your specific needs and climate.
Organic mulches such as wood chips, bark mulch and compost are among the most popular choices for Australian gardens. These mulches help condition the soil, increasing its water-holding capacity and improving drainage. They also provide valuable nutrients to plants as they break down over time. Additionally, organic mulches attract beneficial insects such as earthworms and ladybugs which can help boost your plants’ health.
Inorganic mulches such as gravel, stone or rubber chippings can also be used in Australian gardens. These mulches don't break down like organic mulches do so they don't provide any additional nutrients to the soil but they do help to control weeds and retain moisture more effectively than organic mulches. They also provide insulation against temperature extremes so if you live in an area with hot summers then an inorganic mulch can be a great choice.
If you're looking for a mulch that's easy to maintain then consider using a mix of both organic and inorganic mulch materials. This combination is especially beneficial in regions with hot summers because it helps retain moisture without becoming too wet or soggy when there's heavy rainfall.