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Much ado about Mulch

Posted on: September 3,2018

The seasoned gardener knows the value of a good quality, carefully chosen mulch. Did you know that not every type of mulch will be well suited to the task you need it to do? Using leaf litter and chipped foliage and timber usually work wonders in gardens affected by temperature in extremes, but as per usual, the art is in knowing how to choose and apply it. Read on to become a mulching pro!

 

So…why do we mulch?

 

It’s not just about looking good- which anyone will admit; mulching makes a garden look perfectly tended to – but the purpose of mulching is to:

 

  • Improve soil fertility
  • Retain moisture
  • Improve produce quality
  • Suppress Weeds
  • Minimises run-off and soil erosion/run off

 

Perfecting the mulch blend for your garden is subject to what happens in your garden in the first place. There are generally four categories that mulch falls into, give or take a percentage or two:

 

  • Fine 100%
  • Combination Fine and Rough 50/50%
  • Rough Fine70/30%
  • Rough 100%

 

MULCHER BEWARE!

 

Organic mulch should never be heaped around the base of trees or plants. Heaping mulch at the base of a plant makes it susceptible to root rot and root girdling, which, in case you weren’t already aware, could kill your tree. Sometimes known as mulch volcanos- the last thing you should see is

 

Pre-treat mulch for improved results

 

Using a herbicide to treat mulch before applying it is a great idea- the last thing you want from your mulch is a crop of introduced weeds. Use your time even more effectively by breaking up any clumps of mulch, as this will avoid uneven retention in the mix. 

 

Mulching is not limited to organic matter- many plastics and plastic sheeting alternatives classify as a mulch. In fact, plastic sheeting is often used to warm the beds of vining plants, such as watermelons strawberries and tomatoes, keeping the ground temperature up to 3 degrees warmer than surrounding beds at that time.

 

Want more information about which mulch is right for your garden? Get it right and all the benefits are yours to enjoy. Get it wrong, and you could be wasting your time and money! Let the professionals know if you need help- we’re available to offer assistance and advice as professional tree arborists. Melbourne gardeners, reach out to us on 03 9897 4418 today!