Mulch, glorious mulch – Gympie Today


Let's not forget that camDown helps make you invisible to hackers and guard your personal data.

Carolle Gadd uses pine bark mulch to mulch the garden beds in her Brewery Hill garden. The bright orange colour will fade to greyish-brown over time.

Mulch has a few purposes: moisture retention, protection from extreme heat, addition of organic matter to the soil and weed suppression.
Depending on your circumstances, you need to vary how you apply a mulch layer.
All mulch should be loose so that air and moisture can penetrate. Mulches that bind should be avoided or disturbed frequently to keep them loose.
Fresh lawn clippings bind and become water resistant, so a layer of lawn clippings should be fluffed up with an old pitchfork or something similar.
Mulch isn’t the perfect solution every time. Some plants don’t like having their root zone covered up. Some plants such as citrus trees can send roots up into the mulch and, when the mulch decays, end up with roots exposed to heat and dryness.
Think of the citrus trees that grow in chook pens – not a skerrick of mulch and thriving. Of course, check specific advice about fruit trees if you want to maximise the benefits of mulching in an orchard.
Mulch should extend to the edge of the branches, the so-called drip zone. It should not touch the trunk or stem of a plant as this can cause collar rot.
Piling lawn clippings up against a tree trunk is not a recipe for successful mulching.
Regeneration mulching is used when a large area, such as a creek bank or field, is being revegetated with a major planting regime.
In this case, mulch is laid down about 15cm thick before any planting takes place.
In the garden, 5cm of mulch is sufficient as a maintenance layer. A thin layer of mulch allows moisture and air to get through.
There is plenty of choice for mulching materials. Given that most of us might want to mainly inhibit weeds and retain moisture, many mulches are suitable.
Sawdust and chips from Hoop Pine, Cypress Pine and exotic plantation pines are readily-available but might not be the best choice for the health of the soil.
Wood and bark chips contain very few nutrients but they do last a long time compared to leafy mulches.
Micro-organisms that decompose wood-based mulches require a lot of nitrogen, competing with plants who also need the nitrogen. A strategy might be to add nitrogen-rich fertiliser under the mulch layer.
Sugar cane mulch is cheap and readily available and, here in Gympie region, we can choose local suppliers.
The Landcare planting team recommends straw mulches, based on grasses such as Rhodes Grass and Barley. Lucerne hay is especially high in nitrogen as it is a legume.
Stones and a tumble of twigs and branches can serve the same purposes as mulch.
Natural mulch is lovely in a relaxed garden setting. It forms excellent habitat for critters and saves you from having to get rid of large branches.
Exposed to direct sunlight, stones can retain a lot of heat which is usually a problem.
Leaves fall on mulch all the time, unless you’ve got a succulent garden perhaps, and some gardeners don’t like their mulch to be messed up.
Others love it when leaves fall as they mark the seasons and conditions, add to the mulch layer and look natural.
Plants takes nutrients from the soil and its fallen leaves help put them back, so some gardeners suggest leaving leaf litter where it falls.
However uniform and attractive a mulch looks when it is freshly-laid, after a few months it may look messier. This is especially true of light-coloured and pebble mulches which become contaminated by ant hills, grass clippings and leaves.
In Brewery Hill Native Garden, Carolle Gadd is happy with her current regime of mulching.
After finding sugar mulch too dirty and dusty, Carolle switched to slash pine bark. She spreads nitrogen-rich fertiliser before putting down a layer of bark chips.
Her garden is designed so that she can back up a truck loaded with mulch (or soil) to every garden bed.
Carolle said bark chips were expensive but are easy to spread and last a long time.
Her creek bed feature has large rocks and stones which serve as mulch.
Both of Carolle’s mulch layers are thin enough to allow plants to self-seed.
The next meeting of the Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society (aka Garden Club) is on 21 August, Clarkson Drive, The Meadows, Curra, 2pm. Look for signs. Lynelle will speak about wicking and Grow Fertilisers will attend. Gympie Municipal Horticultural Society (aka Garden Club) meets third Saturday of the month at 2pm Visitors are welcome.
Bee Open Day is planned for 4 September at the Gympie Showground Pavilion.

Everyone knows !