With the cooler weather on the way, now is the perfect time to mulch your gardens. Organic mulches such as straw, lucerne, or cane will break down and add valuable nutrients, enabling soil drainage and encouraging worm activity.
Organic mulches can be applied in quite thick layers, assisting with weed control and water retention. Bark-based mulches will not break down as quickly and will allow rain to penetrate through the looser layers to the soil more quickly.
There are some great pebble and rock options around for a more structured garden look which will also assist with water retention and weed control.
While compost can be used as a mulch, it’s better to use it in conjunction with a more specific mulch layer over the top. The compost then acts more as a soil conditioner beneath the mulch layer.
It’s important to remember that the garden may require more intensive watering to ensure that it reaches through the mulch to where it is most needed, but once it’s there it will be retained and do more good than gardens without mulch. Keep mulch away from the base of tree trunks by creating a ‘donut’ shaped space in the mulch around the trunk.