Mulching with Ruck

Segment: Mulching with Ruck
Episode: Autumn 2020, Ep 5
Presenter: Nigel Ruck
TX Date: 21st March 2020

Autumn is the perfect time of year to start mulching in your garden.

  • Even though the air temperature is dropping and the nights are getting cooler, the soil temperature is still close to optimum for plant growth and root zone comfort, so topping up with mulch now helps to insulate the soil.
  • Mulching helps with moisture retention – soils can lose huge amounts of water through evaporation on hot days, and a layer of mulch helps to prevent this.
  • Your mulch should be around 50-60mm thick – any thicker, and you’ll start blocking air and water penetrating the soil. Don’t build the mulch up around tree trunks; simply roll it down, as this will allow air to circulate and prevent the onset of cholera.
  • If you have any fertiliser, put it down before you mulch.
  • Other benefits to mulching include weed suppression, aesthetics, erosion control and soil improvement.
  • Organic mulches encourage microbial and earthworm activity, which soils require for their health. As the mulch breaks down, it releases nutrients into the soil.
  • There is a huge variety of mulches – pine bark, wood chips, straw, hay, and you can even use gravel and pebbles.
  • You can also use ground covers such as native violets. These work as a living mulch, still insulating the soil and suppressing weeds, but you don’t need to top them up.