Mulching is one of the best things you can do for your garden, especially as the weather heats up. But why is mulch so good for the garden? Well, it actually does seven amazing things that help boost plant and overall garden health.
- An application of mulch will help to slow the rainwater into the soil. This is important as plants like to take up water slowly, a fast downpour will quickly leach through the soil, especially in Perth’s sandy soil areas. The mulch works like a filter that slows it down and helps to spread the water sideways working to completely drench the soil.
- Mulch helps prevent water run off as it slows the percolation into the ground which in turn helps to prevent soil erosion. In heavy down pours mulch may be picked up and carried away to a lower part of the garden but it’s much easier to collect this and re apply it rather than do the same with soil. The benefit of keeping soil around the roots of your plants means they don’t dry out and damage is lessened.
- Mulch works like a like blanket for the soil insulating it and keeping the temperature regular. This is excellent for the micro-organism health in the soil. Try to think of your soil as living and all the life that resides with in it is vital for the health and success of your plants. As such keeping the temperature regular is an excellent way of safeguarding all the tiny organisms that live in it. Your plants will also benefit from a regular temperature and the less the fluctuations the happy your plants roots and shoots will be.
- This insulating benefit also helps to lock moisture into the soil and lessen the amount you need to water your plants. Studies have shown that an application of mulch 75mm thick will reduce watering up to 60%.
- I think I must be the only gardener who enjoys weeding however said that there is plenty of other things to keep me busy in the garden, so mulch is an excellent way to suppress weed growth. Weed seeds will still land on the mulch and germinate however the lack of sunlight on the soil helps to stop weeds pushing through the layer.
- If you use an organic mulch such as straw, wood chip or compost it breaks down to feed your plants and improve your soil structure. As the mulch breaks down the nutrients held inside are released into the soil that helps to feed your plants. I think it’s important to use an organic mulch that breaks down quickly in areas that regularly have soil disturbance such as in the veggie patch, this leads to the mulch being incorporated back into the soil which helps build a good structure.
- Most people mulch for one reason and that is it looks good! One of the tricks I would use in Selling Houses Australia to make a garden look more cared for and lower maintenance is mulch.
Studies have shown to maximise all these benefits mulch should be applied to a depth of 75mm, any less and you have greater fluctuations in soil temperature, more weed growth and increased evaporation, anymore and water finds it hard to reach the soil profile. When mulching try to avoid the mulch from having direct contact with the plants; tree trunks and shrub stems should not touch the mulch as this increases fungal issues and can promote rot.
Mulch can also finish off the style of garden you have gone for, for example straw type mulches look great in a cottage style garden, leaf litter works with a native garden, and pebbles, although they may not break down, they fit well in contemporary landscapes.