Using mulch is one of the best ways to save water in your garden. It helps the soil retain water and is also great for keeping out weeds.
Did you know that a layer of mulch, at least 75mm thick, reduces evaporation from the soil surface by as much as 70 per cent?
Mulch also helps to moderate soil temperature and can prevent erosion. Many organic types of mulch actually improve the soil structure and the health of your plants by breaking down and releasing nutrients.
What is Mulch?Mulch consists of organic or non-organic matter and can be made from a variety of materials.
Organic mulch includes:
- pine or eucalypt chips
- pea straw
- lucerne hay
- rice hulls or corn stalks
- mushroom compost
- fallen leaves
- chipped tree prunings
- grass clippings
- peat moss
- rocks and boulders
- black plastic
- newspaper or waste paper
How Do I Use It On My Garden?Mulch should be applied to garden beds in a thick layer (up to 40-80mm). It should not be applied too close to the stems and trunks of plants, otherwise it might cause fungal problems.
If you plan to use mulch made from green waste, make sure that the mulch has been properly treated to kill weed seeds and pathogens. When buying mulch ask whether it has been produced in line with Australian Standards.
A Quick TipIf you find birds flicking mulch out of the garden and creating a mess on your pathways and paved areas try using a row of plants such as flowering perennials or a hedge to create a barrier.
For more useful information on using and purchasing compost and mulch products, visit the Healthy Sustainable Gardens Program.