I absolutely love mulch; it is a fantastic way to treat your garden. I always try to remind my clients to mulch their gardens because of all the benefits it brings such as moisture retention, improved fertility and overall health of the soil, prevents weeds and weed seed germination and greatly improved appearance of garden beds.
Which type of mulch do I need?
It is important to choose the right mulch for your garden, depending on what function you require from it.
If you want something that will break down and add nutrients to the soil, like in a vegie garden, straw type mulches are a great choice. This could be pea straw, sugarcane, or lucerne.
If its low maintenance gardens and weed prevention your after then a chunkier type mulch is better. The mulch we produce with our chippers is perfect for this purpose.
If the main aim is for aesthetic purposes, then you could also consider a bark type mulch or even rocks. Rocks last forever but don’t go so well with the mower if they can be tracked into your lawn.
Thick or thin?
If your main aim is to enhance the soil, like in a vegie garden, then a 50 mm layer is about the right depth, But remember if your vegies are young seedlings, this may be too thick and you could drop that down to 30mm and top it up later on when your vegies have matured a bit.
If your chasing weed suppression then 60mm to 75mm is best as the thick layer stops weeds for longer.
What about nitrogen?
Wood chip has copped a bit of negativity because of a process known as the “nitrogen draw-down effect”. What happens is, fresh woody mulch which is naturally high in carbon but low in nitrogen sucks available nitrogen from the soil in order to decompose. This can have a devastating effect of trees and plants sharing the soil with the mulch. Fortunately, this can be overcome by applying a balanced organic fertilizer before mulching or letting the mulch sit in a heap and break down for several weeks before applying.