Mulching is key to saving money and conserving today’s and tomorrow’s most precious resource, our water supplies. The average household uses 240,000 litres of water per year, or about five times an average swimming pool. Approximately 36% of all household water is used on gardens, incorporating a mulching plan can save up to 73% of what might be lost through evaporation.
With water in such short supply, it’s no surprise that everyone is talking about using mulch.
More than just water saving
A fantastic weed suppressant, mulching is the key to a low maintenance garden. The correct selection of mulch can also increase the level of nutrients in the soil. Mulching weeds and feeds plants in the one operation.
Mulch is simple to apply. Simply weed the garden bed, water, and spread the mulch around, taking care to leave at least 10 cm clearance around the base of the plants. Water well after application. If the mulch is to be used as a fertilising agent the application of a nitrogen supplement will assist the decomposition.
For best results, the layer of mulch should be topped up at least once per year, as it decomposes into the soil.
A simple rule is, the faster the mulch breaks down, the better it is for the soil, although if a long-term mulch is required, slower decomposition may be the preferred option.
Scientifically, things breakdown according to the carbon/nitrogen ratio. The lower the carbon to nitrogen ratio, the faster the materials are broken down and the nutrients released to the soil. These levels can be estimated by looking at the mulch. The denser the structure, generally the higher the carbon content, and the longer it takes to break down.