As long as there have been trees growing in forests, there has been mulch on the ground beneath them, which in turn provides nutrients for the trees to grow and continuing their life cycle. Gardeners also greatly benefit from using mulch.
What is Mulch?
But first we need to know what mulch is? Mulch is any material that is spread or laid over the surface of the soil to retain moisture, to suppress weeds and even make the garden look more attractive. Mulches can be split into two categories, biodegradable and non-biodegradable.
Popular types of Biodegradable Mulch
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- Bark chippings
Bark chippings are capable of performing all of the functions in the garden mulch require. It saves gardeners a great deal of time by suppressing weeds and saving time watering during the summer months.
Benefits of Bark Mulch
- Bark mulch will also make your flower beds more attractive by the contrast of dark coloured bark mulch against lush green plant.
- The soil gets its nutrients from the bark mulch breaking down.
- Provides organic matter that will encourage living organisms into the soil such as worms which in turn give benefits to the soil quality and structure.
Non- Biodegradable Mulch
Non-biodegradable mulches like stones are best at, suppressing weeds; conserving moisture and are long lasting. Unfortunately non-biodegradable mulches do not improve the fertility of the soil and certain mulches like plastics can affect the soil structure by not letting enough air pass through to the soil which will eventually smother living organisms.
If you are worried about your soil structure and the living organisms in the soil you can use a groundcover material that is available in CountryLife garden centres called Hipex.
Hipex is fully breathable which means that water and air can pass through the porous woven fabric keeping the soil condition underneath healthy.
Can I use both Biodegradable and Non-Biodegradable Mulch?
In my garden I use both, biodegradable and non-biodegradable mulches for certain areas. In one of my beds there are mostly low maintenance shrubs and I tend to do very little work in that bed so it makes sense for me to use a more permanent ground cover like Hipex.
On the other hand in my herbaceous beds and borders I use bark mulch or wood chips rather than using plastic or fabric material as it suits the herbaceous bed.
Benefits of Biodegradable Mulch
- Little or no watering and fertilising to be done
- Provides a warm home for beneficial insects and plant friendly bacteria and fungi
- Helps plants absorb nutrients.
Where can I buy second hand mulch?
A big seller in CountryLife at the moment is our Second Harvest Mulch which comes in a cubic meter bag.
SecondHarvest is an innovative and sustainable product designed, developed and produced at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains in Co. Laois, Ireland.
It is made from recycled wood and coloured with an environmentally friendly, water colourant. It lasts a lot longer than bark mulch and may only have to be replenished once every two years, saving on your pocket.
It will cover 150 square feet when covered at a depth of two to three inches it will ensure little water is evaporated and most weeds will be supressed saving you time to do other jobs.
If you’re not sure which type of mulch is best for your garden ask one of our horticulturists in store and we’ll be glad to help you choose the one most suitable for you.