What is mulch and why's everyone talking about it? What can it do for your garden and is it difficult to create? These are questions commonly asked by novice gardeners as they decide to take on the challenge of growing a verdant yard. |
First of all, mulch is decomposed material made up of numerous composted things like gravel, bark, wood chips, sawdust, cardboard etc. It's applied to the surface of soil as a covering to slow the growth of weeds, improve soil fertility and help he soil retain moisture. It's usually organic in nature but doesn't have to be. What matter is that it fertilizes soil safely.
Not only is it extremely useful, it enhances aesthetics too when used to layer flower pots or walkways. The best time to spread it on a garden is during autumn, early winter, later winter and early spring depending on the climate conditions of where you live. By protecting soil from extreme cold and preventing it from drying out in summer, plants are able to thrive for a longer period without much work on your part.
There are different types of mulch and like fertilizer each can do more for certain plantings than others. Let's see what they are.
Straw mulch: Straw has been used as mulch for decades and is still a favorite among many gardeners. The main drawbacks are the tendency for weed seeds to get trapped and the relatively high cost though that depends on where you live. If it's a windy region, you might be confronted with flyaway or if it sees a lot of rain, it'll absorb too much moisture.
The benefits you will get are easy accessibility to weeds and a material that packs a lot of nutrients. It's especially great for newly-seeded lawns if sufficient amounts are laid to prevent weeds from getting sunlight to germinate.
Peat moss: A long-lasting and popular mulching material, peat moss is sold commercially so is very easy to find. Like straw, it improves soil quality and is especially suitable for seedlings. But unlike straw, it harbors no pests or weeds or at the very least, does so in very small numbers. Fungi too find peat moss to be an inhospitable growing ground.
Peat moss is expensive because it doesn't grow everywhere. It grows slowly too and it takes years for the moss to turn into peat so it's not very sustainable.
Newspaper and cardboard: Known as sheet mulching, the two commonly used products can make a great gardening material for suppressing weeds and adding small amounts of organic matter as they decompose. The effects can be seen within a year once the materials have fully decomposed, leaving rich loam in their place.
The downsides can be troubling especially in areas that see quick pest infestation. Voles, rats and insects can thrive under sheet mulch which defeats the purpose of growing healthy plants. Since newspaper and cardboard take time to absorb water, they can prevent it from draining into soil. Of course, once decomposition begins, this isn't really an issue.
Note: There's an ongoing debate that colored ink in newspapers can be risky for soil health so utilize only black ink newsprint to be safe.
Fresh, organic mulch is perfect for suppressing weeds but doesn't do much for soil improvement whereas aged organic mulch is rich in nutrients. Where aesthetics matter and soil erosion is prevalent, use gravel.
So are you looking for a leading landscape and garden supplier Perth has to offer? Maddington Landscape & Garden Supplies offer a wide selection of indoor plants and ornamental features, suitable for a home or office. Visit their website selectiveoutdoorsupplies.com.au for additional details
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