Spring has finally arrived, and with it comes the excitement of starting a new gardening season. As you get ready to prepare your garden beds, there’s one important task that can help your garden flourish – mulching!
Mulching is the process of covering the soil around your plants with a layer of organic or inorganic material. This technique has many benefits, including conserving soil moisture, suppressing weed growth and improving soil health. And the best part is that it can reduce the amount of time you spend on weeding and watering!
Spring is the perfect time to mulch, as the soil is still moist from winter rains. It can lock in the moisture, preventing the soil from drying out too quickly as the weather warms up. There are many organic materials that you can prepare or purchase to use for mulch, including compost, shredded leaves, straw, leaf mould and grass clippings. Acid-loving plants like blueberries may benefit from a layer of pine needles or pine bark chippings. These materials break down over time, adding valuable nutrients to the soil and promoting a healthy ecosystem for beneficial microorganisms.
Spread a deep layer around each plant, leaving a small gap between the mulch and the plant stem to prevent moisture build up that could cause rotting. Aim for a thickness of about 2-3 inches.
A layer of shredded bark or decorative stones can give your beds a neat and polished look while providing many benefits of mulch.
But before you start, it’s important to tidy up your garden beds first. If the ground is not frozen or waterlogged, you can loosen the soil by turning it over with a spade or fork. This will help to aerate the soil and improve drainage. Dig in plenty of organic matter to improve heavy soils. Ensure you remove any weeds as you go, before they have the chance to burst into a new cycle of growth.
It’s also a great time to prune summer-flowering deciduous shrubs such as buddleia, hardy fuchsia and cornus. Ornamental grasses should also be trimmed, with deciduous grasses like Silvergrass being cut to just a few centimetres above ground level, leaving some of the old growth intact to protect the crown. Evergreen grasses like Festuca can be trimmed by removing any brown tips and dead leaves from around the base to keep them looking neat and tidy. If you have species like pampas grass, it’s time for a hard prune. Cut them back as far as possible without damaging the new growth emerging from the bottom of the crown to encourage healthy new growth and keep your grass looking its best.
These are just a few suggestions to help you create a lush and vibrant garden. If you have any specific questions, pop into Goulds Garden Centre where our friendly team can help. Happy gardening!
Sue is in her 24th year at Goulds Garden Centre. She is the plant manager for this busy store and has been sourcing plants for award-winning gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show since 2018. She is an avid gardener, leading to numerous Britain in Bloom awards, including a first.