What is Mulch?
In simple terms, mulch refers to the layer placed on top of the soil bed in order to protect and add further nutrients to the soil. This mulch layer can be either organic materials such as bark, leaves, wood chips or inorganic materials such as geoplastics, rubber or even metallic mulch.
Here at Stone Zone, we are proud suppliers of 2 different types of mulches, Woodland Mulch, which is derived from shredded tree waste and Amenity Bark Mulch, which is a healthy mix of tree bark and mulch.
If you want more options, you can always choose to go with inorganic mulch. As we mentioned before, there are a range of inorganic materials that can be used as mulch. This ranges from geo-fabrics, rubber, metal, crushed rock or crushed plastic, landscape tarps and many more.
Benefits of Adding Mulch to Your Garden
There is a plethora of reasons as to why it’s a good idea to add mulch to your garden. Adding mulch can directly impact the health of your soil and plants and can be a beneficial tool to ensure your plants have the best environment to grow. We have listed 5 important reasons as to why all gardens should have mulch in them.
Helps retain moisture
Firstly, mulch organic mulch is especially adept at retaining moisture from the rain or from your watering. This is a handy feature as it means you will have to water your plants less frequently; saving both your effort and your water. This also makes mulch an easy way to have an affordable garden.
No one wants weeds sprouting in a garden they have worked hard to cultivate. Organic mulches are a good way to suppress them in a natural way that doesn’t involve harsh chemicals, which are often harmful to your plants. Mulches are an economical and harmless way to prevent weeds from growing in your garden.
Improve soil organic matter
The natural elements of organic mulch are able to improve the organic matter present in soils therefore creating an even stronger and nourishing bed for your plants to grow on.
Organic mulches are able to provide important nutrients to your plants throughout the year. This is useful as you won’t need to purchase too much extra plant feed, saving you both time and effort.
Temperature control during hot and cold weather
Finally, one of the best features mulches possess is that they are able to regulate temperature very well. This means that they can keep the soils and plants cool during the summer by retaining as much water as possible; on the other hand, mulches are able to keep plant beds warm by providing extra insulation during the winter, therefore no matter what the weather, your garden is protected.
Disadvantages of Mulching
Over-mulching can suffocate plants
Make sure that you do not over-mulch your beds as that can lead to several negative impacts. Therefore, you need to be very careful of the amount you use. If you are unsure, there are several sources across the internet or even your local garden centre that can advise you on how much mulch you need.
Damaging to Perennial Plants
If you are thinking about growing perennial plants such as Daylilies then you need to make sure that you don’t layer the mulch too high as that would suffocate the plants and won’t get access to as much oxygen.
Lead to Rotting
In the same fashion, piling too much around trees could lead to rotting, insects, rodents and decay, all of which we want to avoid. Therefore, as we have mentioned earlier, make sure the layer of mulch you apply is dependent on the plants you are surrounding them with.
How to Apply Mulch
If you are thinking about applying mulch to your plant beds, the best time to do so is mid-late Spring when most of the Spring plants have stopped growing; and during Autumn when you are getting ready for the cold weather and upcoming Spring season.
The optimum amount of mulch you want to lay on the plant beds should be around 2-3 inches thick for it to protect the beds and be effective. Any less would be redundant and too much may lead to adverse effects.
Make sure you lay your mulch over properly moistened soil, for the mulch to do their job properly. By adding the mulch to wet soil, you are ensuring that the mulch is able to retain any of the moisture that is present.
As the mulch breaks down over time, it will slowly because feed for the soil and plants which negates you from having to apply feed to soil beds as often.