Reduce water evaporation by up to 70%
Mulch is material added in a layer over your garden soil. It reduces water loss by as much as 70% by protecting soil from the drying effects of the sun and wind. It's also a smart use of organic household waste.
Benefits of mulching
A thick (15-20cm) layer of mulch will:
- reduce water loss from the soil while still allowing water to penetrate
- reduce soil erosion
- suppress weed growth
- moderate soil temperature
- improve soil structure and the health of plants over time
- reduce the need for chemical sprays
- create a natural appearance
- provide a soft surface for playgrounds and paths
- reduce the amount of plant material going to landfill.
- Pine or eucalypt wood chips.
- Lawn clippings, prunings, leaves and plant material.
- Sawdust, straw and hay.
- Gravel, stones and similar inorganic material can be used as ground cover around plants in the garden to reduce evaporation and weeds.
The Living Victoria Water Rebate Program (link opens a new website) offers rebates on a range of water efficient products and appliances, including mulch, compost bins and rainwater tanks.
- Compost organic mulch before you use it to increase its nutrient value. The process also destroys weed seeds and plant pathogens.
- Leave the grass clippings on the lawn for mulch when you mow. Set the mower to a tall setting so that only the top third of grass is cut and mow only when it's dry so clippings can filter to the soil without clumping.
- Keep weeds, pet faeces or material that has been treated with weed killer or pesticides out of mulch.
- Mature mulch for a few weeks before applying around plants - fresh material can rob the soil of nitrogen. Use one-part materials high in nitrogen (compost, worm castings) to ten-parts mulch.
- Don't apply mulch close to the stems and trunks of plants.
- Ensure the mulch you buy has been produced in line with Australian Standards - look for the 'five ticks' logo.
Download a brochure on mulching (610KB).
Top | Last updated 15/02/2013