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How to Mulch – Benefits and Why to Mulch

What is mulching?

Mulching is covering the surface of your soil with a loose covering. You can apply mulch to borders or to the tops of pots or containers.

There are many benefits to mulching, including:

  • Helping the soil to retain water by reducing evaporation. This means you don’t need to water as much.
  • Suppresses weeds by adding a layer on top of the soil which starves the weeds of light
  • Improves organic matter in the soil and adds extra nutrients
  • Deters some pests
  • Helps warm up the soil
  • Protects the roots of your plants from extreme hot and cold temperatures
  • Give a decorative finish to your soil

how to mulch with farmyard manure

There are two main types of mulches – biodegradable and non-biodegradable.

Biodegradable mulches break down gradually over time, releasing nutrients into the soil and helping to improve soil structure. This type of mulch will need replacing after it has broken down so is usually added each year.

how to mulch close up in hands

Non-biodegradable mulches do not add nutrients to the soil, but do help to suppress weeds and conserve water. They also tend to add a nice decorative finish to your soil.


How to mulch?

Applying a mulch is very simple. Pile a layer of between 5cm-7.5cm thick of biodegradable mulch to your borders or containers.

The thickness of your layer of mulch is the most important part, so it is better to mulch half your garden with a thick layer every other year, than to mulch the whole garden each year with too thin a layer.

Take care not to smother low growing plants or to pile up the mulch against stems as this can cause the stems to soften.

For new beds and borders, you can use a mulch sheet, such as Weedstop.

If using a non-biodegradable mulch, layer this over the soil in a thick enough layer that you can’t see the soil below. This type of mulch does not need to be as thick and the amount required will depend on the size of stones or gravel.

how to mulch with bark


When to mulch?

Mulches can be applied in late autumn, after you have cut back, or in late spring, before annual weeds start to germinate.


What to use for mulching?

farmyard manure

There are many different types of materials that can be used for mulching. Some are:

  • Farmyard Manure – The perfect soil conditioner to provide the essential nutrients plants need. It breaks down naturally in the soil, releasing these nutrients, as well as a rich, natural source of organic matter and humus. Westland Farmyard Manure is perfect for mulching and incorporating during planting.
  • Bio-Life Soil Improver – Replenishes depleted soils with a blend of manure and bark to improve soil structure and fertility. The soil works naturally in 3 ways to create the best foundations for growth. This includes physical structure, chemical organic matter & pH as well as biological soil biodiversity and microbial activity.
  • Composted Bark – Helps to revitalise tired soils in your garden providing a rich source of composted organic matter. This bark will help improve soil structure, improve drainage and release nutrients into the soil.
  • Rustic Wood Chips – Perfect for finishing borders, paths and containers. As well as being attractive with a neutral tone to showcase planting, they are also 100% natural and sustainable that enhance and help protect soil and plants. They also suppress weed growth as they release less nitrogen than standard bark.
  • Weed Stop Decorative Ground Cover – A 100% natural decorative ground cover that prevents weeds growing for up to six months. It blocks the light that weed seeds need in order to germinate and impedes weed seeds and soil contact.
  • Landscape Bark – Perfect for creating low maintenance beds & borders. It reduces the need for frequent weeding and therefore the amount of time spent on weeding. It can also be used to create rustic natural looking pathways through woodland and large borders.


If you have made leaf mould, or your own homemade compost, you can also use this for mulching!

how to make leaf mould step 8

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