As with lawn turf care, spring is the time of year when the garden’s beds and borders need some serious attention in order to prepare them for the onslaught of green growth, flowering plants and of course – protection against the dreaded weeds.
Weeds are easily forgotten over the colder months, but it is incredible how nature springs to life as soon as the temperatures increase and the days get longer and lighter. Mulching is one way to help prevent weeding becoming a laborious chore throughout the rest of the summer as well as helping with water retention and improving the organic content of the soil.
There are several materials that can be used as mulch and most are relatively cheap. If you maintain a compost heap as all serious gardeners should try to do, then you’ll have a good supply of mulching material that is high in well rotted rich organic matter. Alternatively, you can buy bags of peat-free compost to use as mulch.
Mulching can also be performed using bark chippings which also have the benefit of providing uniformity in beds and borders and giving an ornamental quality to any garden. Bark mulch has all the benefits of compost such as water retention, weed growth prevention as well as providing plant root insulation during colder periods.
When using bark mulch, be careful not allow the chippings to cover too much of the plants stems otherwise there can be a danger of rotting. An ideal depth for bark mulch is around 5cm, which, when being applied specifically for weed prevention, is to ensure that no light can reach the seeds which would otherwise allow them to germinate. In order to make sure that bark mulch provides effective weed growth protection, gardeners should ensure that the soil is free from weed growth before covering with the mulch.