Mulching: What It Is, Why It’s Important

Even if it’s something you’re not entirely familiar with, you’ve probably heard of both mulch and mulching at some point or another. You probably know that it bears various similarities to composting, but also has its key differences. As mulch is a pretty important subject here at Target Trees, we thought we’d take you through the basics of what it’s all about.

Wonderful Waste

As you can probably imagine, we produce wood chips in the kinds of quantities that are nothing short of colossal. Just about every tree surgery and management project we take in involves the creation of a vast amount of wood chips, which most of our customer request we clear up and take away with us which we do.

But while wood chips are viewed as a waste product by most people, we actually see it as the exact opposite. It’s a wonderful resource that has countless uses and we never, ever let a single scrap of the stuff go to waste.

For example, the strategic use of woodchip can add a decorative touch to any garden, while at the same time nurturing plant growth and keeping weeds to a minimum. It can be used as a soft ground covering in kids’ play area to offer something of a cushion for inevitable falls. And it can be used in any instant where paths, walkways or the ground, in general, is prone to waterlogging, helping keep things safe, accessible and manageable.

Along with all of this, there’s the marvel of mulching a simple process that has countless benefits for gardens of all kinds.

The Marvel of Mulching

If left to its own devices for around six months of so, wood chips will turn into mulch. What makes mulch so incredibly useful in so many scenarios is the way in which it helps with water retention, which is a course of enormous value for plants, trees and so on.

When you use mulch around the base of a tree, for example, it can help prevent or at least minimise weed growth, while at the same time boosting water retention in the soil. Along with serving as an important and effective fertiliser for the tree, mulch also plays a role in minimising evaporation. This means more moisture is held in the soil, which ultimately makes its way into the roots of the tree.

Because of the way in which mulch helps with water retention over a longer period, it has the potential to be even more effective than watering. The reason being that when a tree or plant is watered, it receives a generous yet brief burst of moisture which quickly drains away. Mulch helps the soil hold onto its moisture for longer, for something of a time-release effect.

Basic Tips for Mulching

If you can get hold of a good amount of wood chips, you might want to think about mulching for the benefit of your own garden. Needless to say, we can certainly help you out if you’d like to order a bunch of wood chips for the lowest possible price!

Once you’ve sufficient wood chips to go about the process, you’ll need to give them all sufficient time to compost. If you leave it for less than six months, you run the risk of the woodchip being too fresh and potentially leaching nitrogen from the soil. In which case, it will do more harm than good. Six months is generally seen as the sweet spot’ for mulching wood chip.

If there are any weeds or unwanted grasses etc. growing around the base of the plant or tree, it’s a good idea to remove these before going any further. The reason is that they will simply soak up the nutrients and moisture that you’d probably rather make their way into the tree.

With trees, you should be looking at placing a mound of mulch all around the base of the trunk, with a diameter of around 100cm if possible. Rather than stacking the mulch against the tree in a cone shape, you should instead create a ring that is more like a doughnut. This is because mulch positioned directly against the trunk of the tree could lead to rot you need to make sure the tree has sufficient space to breathe.

In terms of depth, it’s best to pile up the mulch to a modest depth of around 15cm at its deepest part. Any deeper than this and it could potentially do more harm than good to the roots of the tree, so it’s best to err on the side of sensible caution.

If you’d like any more information on mulching or would like to place an order for wood chips, get in touch with the Target Trees team anytime.