Mulching Tips

Small garden plants sitting under bark mulch

Learning how to mulch can provide no end of benefit to the avid gardener. Not only does the mulching process help to stop frostbite and retain moisture, but it can be so beneficial for plant growth while preventing weed growth at the same time.


If you’re tired of spending all your precious free time on weekends on your knees pulling out weeds, then while not learn how to mulch? We’ve included various options as well as the benefits of mulching below. Once you try out these methods, you will be surprised at how well your garden thrives as a result.


Grass Clippings

If you are always out and about mowing your lawns, then you will no doubt have plenty of lawn clippings available. Rather than pay to take these to a waste disposal facility or pile them in the corner of the yard, why not use them to your advantage? Grass clippings, believe it or not, are perfect for mulching. Just spread them over your garden beds to help with suppressing the growth of weeds. The best part is, they’re free.


Given the water content, however, you will find they decompose reasonably quickly. If you have a considerable amount of lawn clippings, this may not be a problem for you.



When you have finished catching up on the daily news in your local newspaper, you will find there are many benefits of mulching with it as well. Rather than throw it in the bin, you can layer the sheets around your favourite plants and help to keep the weeds away and your plants moist. For best effect, layer between four and eight sheets around your plants then wet them. Keeping them moist can help to stop them blowing away in the wind as well.



When you’re learning how to mulch, or you’re getting gardening help from an expert; you will soon realise that bark is one of the most effective mulching products around. You can use it with your shrubs, encompassing garden beds, and even around trees. The reason why there are so many benefits of mulching with bark is that it’s long-lasting. Unlike lawn clippings and newspaper, it lasts a long time, meaning you can spend less time maintaining your garden and more time admiring it.


However, if you like to dabble in transplanting, moving plants, and creating space for new plants, bark may not be the best mulching product for you. It doesn’t play nice with soil, making it exceptionally difficult to remove without interrupting the dirt.


Shredded Leaves

Most yards will have one or two trees that drop leaves in autumn and winter. While they are perfect for blocking your gutters and messing your entrance ways, they actually have a positive purpose – mulching. By collecting these leaves, you solve two problems – your plants get crucial nutrients, and your yard benefits from a clean-up.


You can use shredded leaves anywhere for mulching, and they even encourage earthworms to work their magic as well. As a result, they help both your plants and your soil – while being free for the average homeowner.


Straw and Hay

Straw and hay, when you use it correctly and know how to mulch correctly, can be exceptionally beneficial for your garden. However, you do need to be careful and make sure you purchase weed-free hay. Otherwise, you’re creating more problems than you’re solving. Weed-free hay can keep your weeds at bay, retain that all-important moisture in your soil, and add organic matter as well.


When you add straw or hay for mulching, be sure not to pile it around roots, stems, or tree trunks. Piles of hay is an open invitation for slugs and rodents to come out and play.



In a world that’s actively trying to promote less plastic use, it may seem odd that it can be beneficial for your garden – particularly as it doesn’t break down. However, if you have any old black plastic sheets lying in your back shed, you may as well re-use it rather than throw it into landfill.


When you spread black plastic sheets tightly over a flat soil area, the sun’s heat transmits with it and creates a hive of activity within your soil. The soil warms up and then prevents weeds from growing, retains much-needed moisture, and even helps vining crops from succumbing to rot and dirtiness.

If you have infrared plastic at home, then even better. This type of plastic can also help to produce better fruit crop yields.


However, there is a right and wrong way to plastic use. You need to spread it out tightly over the top of your flat soil base, poke holes in it, then plant seeds in those holes. It may be hard to water those plants – especially in their early days, so you may also like to install drip hoses to help keep it moist while they grow.


Plastic is beneficial for garden beds, but you shouldn’t use it for mulching under shrubs. It can, in a word, choke the plants as they begin to grow roots closer to the surface. In essence, there are no benefits of mulching with plastic for more mature plants.


Mulching in Winter

There is a common misconception that mulching during winter is not necessary because the sun isn’t out to heat up the soil for the best effect. However, mulching protects your plants from frostbite, so mulching in winter is a good idea. It stops the roots from freezing while preparing it for a hit of growth in the spring months.


If you know mulching is essential, but you’re not sure how to approach it, you will find there are plenty of garden and lawn experts you can contact in your local area who are only too willing to help. There are also many benefits of mulching, so there’s no time like the present to arm yourself with newspaper, bark, plastic, leaves, or straw and hay and start the process today.

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