Mulch is organic material that covers the soil to stop weed growth and promote healthy gardens. It retains nutrients and moisture in the soil and increases biological activity in the soil - especially worms and good microbes.
Benefits of Mulch
- Helps keep the weeds down.
- Reduces soil erosion and soil compaction around plants.
- Keeps roots cool in summer and warm in winter and helps retain moisture.
- Reduces the need for chemical sprays and fertilisers.
- Less watering of your garden. It provides nutrients.
4 Easy Ways To Make Mulch
1. Using clippings
Lawn clippings are a natural garden wonder, so make the most of your clippings by:
- Leaving them on the lawn when you mow, feeding the lawn and making it healthier.
- Mulching around annual flower and vegetable plants. Note: leave space between the bark or stem and mulch.
2. Using garden prunings
It’s easy to turn garden prunings in to mulch, here’s how:
- Arrange twigs, thin branches and leafy material in a long row and use the lawn mower to shred them.
- For larger branches, borrow or hire a small shredder.
3. Using compost
Composting your food scraps and garden vegetation can create a free source of nutrients for seedlings, plants, shrubs and trees. The nutrients in compost are readily available to your plants and soil. Call 131 555 to get your Easy Composting guide or visit www.livingthing.net.au
4. Using bought mulches
Many different types of mulches can be bought either in bags or in bulk. Straw, hay, wood and bark chips can be easily purchased. Wood chip mulches are often used as an attractive feature for garden paths and to soften falls under children’s play equipment.
Some Tips For Making Mulch
Collar Your Mulch
When using woody mulch around trees and plants, leave some space (a ‘collar’) between the bark or stem and the mulch. This will prevent creating conditions that may encourage disease.
Weed Free Mulch
Avoid using weeds, seeding plants and certain leaves in your mulch mix. (Eucalyptus and Camphor Laurel leaves contain substances that inhibit plant growth for 3-4 weeks when fresh. These can be composted.)
Avoid making mulch with organic materials that have been exposed to weed killer or pesticides as the mulch may harm your plants or soil.
Mulching with fresh woody material such as wood chips and bark can rob the soil of nitrogen. Let mulches mature for a few weeks before applying to plants. Try mixing one part of nitrogen-rich material like compost, worm castings or animal manures (eg cows or chickens) to ten parts mulch.
Further Information on Mulching
The Easy Mulching Guide (PDF 1MB) produced by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage has further information on mulching.