Waterwise Tips

Slip Slop Slap for your garden 2017-05-19T14:06:45+00:00

Project Description

Slip slop slap for your garden

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Mulching protects the soil in the same way that sunblock protects our skin. It also maintains moisture, improves soil and reduces weeds, so it’s an easy waterwise solution that has multiple benefits.

Choose the right mulch and prepare for success with these handy hints from the Queensland Government:

Mulching

Using mulch liberally and regularly helps retain soil moisture. It does this by reducing evaporation, restricting weed growth and improving soil structure as it breaks down. Mulching also improves plant growth by providing insulation for plant roots.

Choose the right mulch

There are many different types of mulch to choose from. Organic mulch, such as sugar cane mulch or pine bark, will decompose over time and help improve your soil. Organic mulch should be reapplied frequently, preferably in autumn and spring, to replace the broken-down mulch.

Prepare for success

For the best result, prepare the soil by removing weeds, raking or digging the surface and watering the remaining plants. Place a layer of newspaper over the soil to deter weed growth, but make sure it’s not too thick as it will reduce air supply to the soil.

Be sure to keep the mulch about 6 to 7 centimetres clear of plant stems or they may rot.

The ideal thickness of the mulch layer depends on the particle size of the mulch material. If using large chunks, such as pine bark, a deeper layer (more than 5 centimetres) is needed. Mulch made of fine particles is more prone to compaction so it should be applied in a thinner layer.

Watch for nitrogen deficiency

As organic mulch decomposes it can draw nitrogen from the soil. Watch your plants for signs of nitrogen deficiency (usually indicated by yellowing of the lower leaves) and use a nitrogen-rich fertiliser if needed.

Every little bit helps…

Did you know?

  • Mulching your garden saves water as it protects the soil from the drying effects of the sun and wind.

  • It improves plant growth by stabilising the soil temperature.

  • Mulch kills existing weeds and prevents new weeds from germinating – placing a layer of newspaper over the soil before mulching will further deter weed growth.

  • Worms and other organisms feed on mulch, improving soil fertility and drainage.