At home

Energy savings and resource efficiency

At home

Mulching

Show your garden you care. Load it up with mulch.

Mulch is a layer of material spread over your garden beds and around plants, to protect them and encourage healthy growth. The best mulches are organic and can be made from a variety of garden by-products (see below).

Allow your mulch to mature for a few weeks before applying to plants. Gravel, stones and similar inorganic material can also be used as ground cover around plants to reduce evaporation and weeds. Spread your organic mulch on your garden to a depth of five to 10cm, but leave your stems and trunks with some breathing room. The benefits of mulching reach below the soil surface and will help to:

  • reduce water loss from soil
  • reduce the need for chemical sprays
  • control soil erosion
  • decrease the amount of plant material going to landfill
  • suppress weed growth by 50 to 70 per cent
  • increase biological activity in the soil – especially worms and good microbes
  • improve plant health and soil structure over time
  • give your garden an immediate facelift, with a natural appearance and soft surface.

What to use

  • compost – generally, the older it is, the greater the benefit to your soil
  • old pine, eucalypt or any other woodchips
  • dry lawn clippings, prunings, leaves and plant material (twigs and thin branches can be shredded using a lawn mower)
  • sawdust, straw and hay.

Don’t use

  • weeds and seeding plants
  • organic material exposed to weed killer or pesticides
  • fresh woodchips, which can rob the soil of nitrogen.

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Page last updated: 29 January 2016