Mulch Ado About Nothing

Grow a Friendly Space


People will often spend a lot of time and money planting their garden, buying exotic flora and expensive shrubs to create eye-catching displays. However, more often than not they completely overlook that last touch which gives the garden a ‘finished’ look. Mulching your garden not only improves its appearance, setting the plants off to their best effect, it also has a variety of practical uses which will help to ensure that your plants stay looking as lovely as they did when you first put them in. Mulching helps to retain moisture in the ground, which means your plants need less watering in hot summer months. It protects sensitive roots from frost. It suppresses weed growth. It also helps protect your plants from slug and snail attack, as they find lots of mulch varieties difficult to traverse.

There are many types of material that can be used as a garden mulch, from bark chips to gravel, recycled glass chips to metal ball bearings. Your choice of mulch will depend on your budget and the style of your garden. When choosing your mulch, consider what you want to achieve with it. Is it purely decorative, or do you want to protect sensitive plants? Also consider the local area. Do you have lots of cats and foxes in the vicinity? If so, avoid small aggregate, such as gravel, glass or shingle, as you will make your garden look like one giant litter tray to every cat that passes through. Go for a large mulch, such as bark or slate chips, which the cats will find unappealing underfoot (or paw). Bark chips are an inexpensive way to mulch your garden, but will need topping up once or twice a year. If you are using expensive decorative stone or glass as a mulch, you may want to consider covering the ground with a weed suppressing membrane (this can be a time consuming exercise if you have a densely planted bed) to prevent the mulch migrating into the soil, which will mean the mulch won’t need topping up quite so often. Don’t forget to mulch any planted pots, to tie them in with the rest of the garden.