A mulch is any material applied to the soil surface for protection or improvement of the area covered. Mulches are frequently applied around plants to modify the soil environment and enhance plant growth. The mulch material may be organic such as bark, wood chips, pine needles, composts or similar material; or inorganic such as gravel, pebbles or woven ground cloth.
Benefits of Mulching
Mulching has the following beneficial effects upon the soil and plants.
- Mulches can prevent loss of water from the soil by evaporation. Moisture moves by capillary action to the surface and evaporates if the soil is not covered by a mulch.
- Mulches suppress weeds when applied deeply enough to prevent weed germination.
- A more uniform soil temperature can be maintained by mulching. The mulch acts as an insulator that keeps the soil cool under intense sunlight and warm during cold weather. This greatly improves soil conditions for the roots zone of all plants.
- Mulching will prevent crusting of the soil surface, thus improving absorption and percolation of water into the soil and, at the same time, reducing erosion.
- Organic materials used as a mulch can improve soil structure and tilth. As a mulch decays, the material becomes top soil. decaying mulch may also add nutrients to the soil.
- Mulches also add to the beauty of the landscape by providing a cover of uniform colour and interesting texture to the surface.
Types of Mulch
For a comprehensive list of mulch types, see our sister company, The Mulch Centre.
We offer the following mulch:
- Fines Mulch
- Leaf Blend Mulch
- Recycled Pallet Mulch
- Black Mulch
Mulch entire beds of shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials and/or ground cover. Thinking outside the square in some areas allows special effects. Mulching with things such as sand on annual beds also greatly assists in less watering’s and helps create friable soil structure.
Mulching is an extremely important practise for establishing plantings. Mulch helps to conserve moisture in the root ball of newly planted trees and shrubs.
Mulch also helps discourage weeds that can compete with new plants for water and nutrients.
In addition to being useful around plants, mulch can be used as aground cover for walks, pathways, driveways, play and natural areas.
When to Mulch
Mulch can be applied around established plants at any time.
Newly planted plants should be mulched after they are planted and thoroughly watered.
Organic mulches will gradually decompose creating a miocro climate and nutritional food source for insects and invertebrates such as worms..
Organic mulch needs replenishing to function effectively as a mulch. How often this needs to be done will depend on the mulching material used.
Pine bark and wood chips break down very slowly and need only to be replenished every two or three years.