Mulching is generally used to improve the soil around plants, but it also gives your garden a neat, tidy appearance and can reduce the amount of time spent on tasks such as watering and weeding. Mulches help soil retain moisture in summer, prevent weeds from growing and protect the roots of plants in winter.

What is mulch?

Mulches are loose coverings such as a bark or gravel surface of cultivated soil. Mulches can be mulchingapplied to bare soil or to cover the surface of compost in containers.

Depending on the type of mulch used, there are many benefits of mulching including:

  • Help soils retain moisture in summer
  • Suppress weeds
  • Improve soil texture
  • Deter some pests
  • Protect plant roots from extreme temperatures
  • Encourage beneficial soil organisms
  • Provide a barrier for edible crops coming into contact with soil
  • Give a decorative finish

When to apply mulch?

Mulches are best applied from mid- to late spring and autumn, when the soil is moist and warm. It is best to avoid applying mulches in winter and early spring as the soil is too cold, and in summer, when it will be dry. They can be applied around new plantings or to established beds and specimen plants. We recommend putting strimmer guards around all trees as protection, which we can provide if you wish.

How to apply mulch?

Beds and borders can be mulched entirely, taking care not to smother low growing plants or to pile mulches up against the stems of woody plants.

  • To be effective, biodegradable mulches need to be between at least 5cm and ideally 8cm thick
  • Lay mulches over moist soil, after removing weeds, including their roots, when the soil is not frozen
  • Single trees and specimen shrubs are best mulched to the radius of the rootball.
  • Leave a small ring around the stem as not to soften the bark which can lead to infection.