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What to use as a good mulch

Swooping SwallowSwooping Swallow Posts: 24
edited 29 July in Tools and techniques
What are the best mulches to use? I want to retain moisture in what is a sunny border that has dry, sandy soil. Gravel is not an option and neither is straw. I have been considering composted bark (if it's good enough for Adam Frost....), but it seems to be unobtainable. Bark is the obvious choice, but as I understand it uncomposted bark lacks any nutrient value and can alter the soil pH by making it slightly more acidic.

Has anyone used strulch (which is wheat straw)? It has a neutral pH and seems to have some nutrient value, but is it as good as bark at reducing evaporation?

Posts

  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 7,517
    I recall Beechgrove Garden done a mulch test a few years ago.
    I think there were 4 or 5 other contenders (including Beechgrove's own compost) and Strluch won by a good margin.
    I've used composted bark fines with good effect.
    I needed a lot so bought from CPA Horticulture

    The home made stuff I make is good - but full of weed seeds :(
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Chris-P-BaconChris-P-Bacon Posts: 420
    Strulch is fine ..so a gardener at Bodnant once told me. Expensive though - probably why he advised I try it. I wouldn't buy it personally. 
    Bark is fine too. It wont alter soil pH unduly - if at all. May attract slugs though.
    Try a layer of compost - about 2 to 3 inches thick should do the trick. Could also try manure.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 39,454
    Depends on the planting.
    Compost is great for anything, but I would only use coarse bark around shrubs and trees. The finer stuff would be ok for almost anything though.
    It won't affect the pH in any way. 
    Well rotted manure would be ideal if you want to add some heart to the light soil.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • nick615nick615 SW IrelandPosts: 815
    Having read your opening post, you only mentioned moisture retention?  Lawn mowings, yours or someone else's, are good for that, but may get slippery as they rot down.  They will also be free but if, as the post now suggests, you want to nourish the plot, there are many items that can be used to flavour the mowings to feed whatever you intend to grow.  I'm a great believer in feeding individual plants, if you have the opportunity, and a basic mulch plus single feeds, can be effective?
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