Mulch - What it is & Why you need it.
Mulch saves the lives of transplanted trees and so can save you from having to plant them all over again!
You can buy mulch mats from us: these come in strips for hedges and single mats for trees.
What is Mulch? Mulch is almost anything that you use to cover the soil around a plant in order to do these things:
- Keep the sun off the soil.
- Trap moisture in the soil.
- Make it harder for weeds to grow.
If it is going to a lot of work to water or weed around your plants much after planting, we would say that it is essential that you use mulch if you want you plants to live! Please note that establishing plants must still be watered, but a good mulch will allow you to do it less often.
Homemade mulch can be made of plants, like compost, rotted manure, (but NOT bark chippings which suck free nitrogen out of the soil and can kill newly planted trees and hedging as a result), leaf mould or grass clippings. These tend to be best because they also decay and release nutrients.
Stones and smooth glass pebbles also work.
Well shredded newspapers are better than nothing, although it is recommended to leave them to soak in a bucket first and pour out the water to wash out the bleach.
Why do you need Mulch? A newly planted tree (especially a large one) is at risk because it has to grow new roots - these are vulnerable to competing weeds and or lack of water. Mulch holds back the weeds, shades the soil and traps water.
Mulch can even give you a summer holiday!
- If your new trees are well mulched, you can water them thoroughly and safely go away for the weekend.
- If you are going away for 7-10 days, you will need someone to come in & water everything well once in the middle, twice if your soil type is dry (like sandy soil).
How to apply Mulch: Spread it a good inch thick on the ground around your plants.
- Don't pile it up against their stems: leave about 6 inches clear.
- Don't make the mulch layer too high - you don't want the roots to grow up into it. 1-2 inches is plenty.
If you are using compost, clippings or manure as mulch, you can rake it out and chuck it on top of the compost heap each year or two before applying new stuff.