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mulching

A good mulch has many advantages and does the following

  • Adds valuable nutrients and humus to the soil as it breaks down
  • Encourages earthworm activity, which creates channels for the passage of water and roots and improves soil
  • Reduces the need for chemical sprays
  • Reduces soil erosion and soil compaction around plants keeping the soil temperature uniform
  • Keeps soil cooler in summer
  • Reduces surface evaporation by 70-80 per cent
  • Allows deep and infrequent watering
  • Helps retain moisture
  • Reduces run off
  • Eliminates stress in shallow rooted plants
  • Suppresses weeds – any that do germinate are easy to remove
  • Can act as a firebreak near houses
  • Improves the appearance of the garden area

 

types of mulch

There are many forms of mulch available.  Using recycled mulches such as crushed brick or concrete or organic waste is a sustainable way of creating your garden

Eucalypt mulch
Tan bark
Pea straw
Pebbles
Crushed concrete
Old newspaper under
Recycled mulch
Pine chip
Shredded prunings
River pebble
Crushed brick
Cottage mulch
Wood chip
Straw
Washed river sand
Gravel

application of mulch

Mulch should be between 30mm and 70mm deep, depending on the texture - less for fine texture and more for coarse

If mulch is too thick then moisture is absorbed by the mulch and cannot penetrate to plant roots.  It must however be thick enough to help the soil retain the moisture and prevent evaporation. 

Keep mulch about 40mm away from stems and trunks of plants to avoid collar rot diseases. Raw materials like wood chips that are watered regularly can draw nitrogen away from plants.  Add manure or blood and bone to rectify


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