Mulch is one of those things you see around a garden centre, and kind of pick up without putting too much thought into it. Well, what if we told you that there is a new way to mulch, and it involves thinking about how mulch actually works to help your plants and choosing the right kind of mulch for your garden needs?
If you have a personal garden or even a few trees and shrubs around the place, chances are good that you’ve encountered mulch before. But how does mulch actually work, and what is its role in helping your plants to thrive?
Mulch is often spread over or around plants as a sort of decorative bed, just something nice for the plants to be in other than dirt. However, it actually functions in a way similar to compost, providing much-needed nutrients, aiding in water retention and stopping weed growth.
Mulch helps to block the light needed for germination, so if you have established healthy plants and you spread mulch around them, you can help to reduce new plant growth like weeds. As it turns out, to grow, weeds take an extraordinary amount of the moisture your plants so desperately need to thrive—roughly 25% of all available moisture goes to established weeds.
Mulch also has an incredibly important role in aiding the soil, and this is where choosing the right mulch really comes into play. Mulch breaks down over time and creates new soil, as well as acting to slow water evaporation and capture and hold water over time.
Essentially, mulch creates the perfect soil for your plants over time. When you add a few inches of mulch, you give the soil underneath time to take in nutrients from the decomposing mulch. This decomposition process also releases a bevy of essential minerals and chemicals that your plants can eat as food.
The mulching process also aggregates existing soil particles and fosters a cohesive soil base over time. This means that, by mulching your soil beds, you can actually create new soil, as well as enriching any existing soil so your plants can thrive.
We want to be clear: all mulches have a time and a place to shine. So long as you are using a mulch, you are doing a much better job by your garden than having rocks, plastic or even nothing at all covering the soil bed.
But choosing the right mulch for your plants can give you the best return on your plant investment, providing all the right nutrients and degrading at the right speed for the lifecycle of your plant.
Mulch materials can be varied and usually range from bark to wood chips, grasses or leaves. All of these different materials break down at different rates, with leaves and grasses breaking down faster than wood and barks.
As such, mulches give either big bursts of nutrients all at once or slowly filter down small dribbles of nutrients to have a long-lasting boost for your plants. Which one is best depends entirely on what you want for your plants.
Another key consideration is the texture of your mulch. This will change the amount of moisture that is held in the topsoil and how much is allowed to filter down to the water table. This has huge ramifications for your plant life, especially if you are growing something that can be easily swamped or has very short roots.
Using aged mulch can also increase the nitrogen content of the mulch, which keeps the nitrogen cycle plants use to grow in place. You can create your own mulch if you know a lot about organic decomposition, but if not, try getting a mulch made for you.
If you are looking for a high-quality mulch but don’t know much about what will be best for your garden, come have a chat with the experts at Gembrook Garden Supplies.
They have a range of mulches available, from garden mulch to bush mulch. All of their mulches are high-quality, natural products that give your garden a chance to thrive. Gembrook Garden Supplies also offers a huge range so you have choices for texture, composition, purpose and looks.
Whether you are mulching a garden, decorating a walkway or providing a safe and soft floor for playgrounds, the experts at Gembrook Garden Supplies can help you choose the right mulch for the task.
Give them a call today for advice from industry experts, who have been working to achieve the garden of your dreams for over 40 years.