One thing that you quickly learn about gardening in Australia is that the harsh summer heat quickly evaporates the moisture within your soil. As a first-time homeowner and relatively new-to-the-scene gardener, the best way to keep moisture in your soil and nourishing your plants is to use mulch. But not all mulch is created equal, so how do you know the dos and don'ts of mulch use? Use these three tips to get you started with mulching in your garden.
Do Buy Quality Mulch
Mulch is probably readily found in your neighbourhood, but it is not all of the same quality. The mulch made available by the guy down the road who just trimmed his trees is not of the same quality as what you purchase from a mulch supplier. You should avoid using mulch which has been stored too long with no airflow and now has mould and mildew growing on it. This type of mulch damages your plants and should not be purchased. Mulch suppliers, on the other hand, have dry, clean mulch which can be used without fear of plant contamination.
Don't Overestimate How Much Mulch You Need
When it comes to calculating your mulch needs, more mulch is not necessarily better. The purpose of the mulch is to keep the moisture in the soil and to stop weeds from growing around your plants. To achieve this, a thin layer of mulch is enough. Any more than this amount and you run the risk of rainwater not being able to penetrate the soil when it rains. If you tell your mulch supplier what area you are looking to mulch, they will calculate how much you need.
Do Remove Old Mulch
Before the new mulch arrives, be sure to remove about 50% of the old mulch from your garden and dispose of it. The reason why you don't want layers upon layers of old mulch sitting on your garden bed is the potential that beneath all those layers the mulch is rotting and contaminating the soil. Ask your mulch supplier for the best way to dispose of old mulch. There may be a local service that removes it for you, or you may need to take it to the local landfill and dispose of it in the garden vegetation section.
Following these three tips for using mulch, you can now head out to the garden and protect your soil from moisture evaporation. You just need to contact a mulch supplier to put in an order for your mulch needs.