Mulch isn’t just a pretty face for your garden. It plays an active role in maintaining the health of your soil and plants by:
But how do you know which mulch is the right one for your garden? Before you head out with your shovel and rake, you want to consider what your garden looks like and the benefit of different types of mulch.
TIP: To maintain the look and colour of your mulch, turn it over with a rake every 6-12 months.
What colour mulch?
It might fly in the face of convention, but your first consideration when choosing a mulch should be the way you want your garden to look. Choose a colour and consistency first, then consider what your garden needs from there.
Like with many things, colours of garden mulch go in and out of fashion. At the moment, mulches that are dark in colour are the most popular in Adelaide, with options like Jeffries Forever Black and Jeffries Recover now the most popular household mulches.
Darker mulches will also offset nicely with the greens in your garden.
A mulch that is brown in colour, like Jeffries Forever Brown, is more suited to a native garden. The brown colour will give your garden an earthier, more organic look, making it a popular choice in Adelaide’s southern suburbs and around the Adelaide Hills.
TIP: Instead of scattering blood & bone over the surface of the garden, rake back the surface layer of mulch and lay your blood & bone just below the surface. This will help the nutrients you’ve applied move more easily through to your garden’s roots when you irrigate.
Do I choose a Coarse or Fine Mulch?
There are benefits and drawbacks of both coarse and fine mulches. If you choose a finer mulch, like Jeffries Forest Mulch, you’ll find that your garden sees a quicker soil conditioning benefit.
A fine mulch will also offer greater coverage of your garden’s soil, meaning better weed suppression and temperature control. However, finer mulches need to be topped up and replaced more frequently than a coarse option.
A finer mulch, with its higher absorption rates, can make it harder for water to penetrate through to the soil.
A coarse mulch, on the other hand will last longer, meaning that it won’t need topping up as often.
Because water can move more freely through a coarser mulch, you might typically apply a layer of 75-100mm on your garden. However, because of a finer mulch’s tendency to retain water, you would only want to apply a layer of about 50mm of fine mulch to your garden.
Organic or Inorganic Mulch?
While an inorganic material like crushed terracotta might offer a more decorative finish for your garden, this type of material lacks the ongoing release of nutrients that an organic mulch offers. Inorganic mulches can, however, be a good option in bushfire-prone areas.
Organic mulches break down over time and add additional nutrients to your garden’s soil. This will improve your soil’s structure and drainage, while encouraging microbial activity in the soil.
A mulch like Jefrries Recover also offers the addition of organic compost and blood & bone, giving you vital nutrients for plant growth.
If you’re applying a mulch that has additives like blood and bone present, be sure to double check that it’s safe for any pets or kids that you may have running around and sampling your garden soil. Railways stocks a range of mulches that are safe for pets.
Keep in mind that the addition of any organic mulch will change the composition of your garden’s soil over time.The addition of a mulch with added gypsum, for example, will break down over many years, slowly leaching into the soil as the mulch breaks down.
If you want a quick, cost-effective way to get your house looking like the best house on the street, weed your weeds, clean up the lawn and apply some fresh mulch.
If you have any questions about which mulch is going to be best for their garden, head in to Railways and speak to the team. With a huge range of mulches in the yard, you can take a close look at your options ‘in the flesh’.