The Complete Guide to Gardening with Mulch in Brisbane
Avid green thumbs looking to ramp up their gardening game need to wrap their heads around mulch. This all-natural organic material improves weed suppression, moisture retention, and root temperature regulation.
The aesthetically-pleasing upper layer also helps microorganisms thrive, leading to healthier, more fertile plants.
But mulch comes in various types, and not all are suitable for every application. In this post, we’re covering the eight main mulch varieties and discussing how they can benefit your Brisbane garden.
Tea Tree Mulch
Tea tree mulch is a dark, naturally fragrant product derived from the melaleuca, also known as the paper bark tea tree. Most mulch-makers use leftover wood and bark from the tea tree oil refinement process.
The environmentally-friendly product enriches the soil to facilitate plant growth. High water retention makes it suitable for drought-prone areas, and sound insulation helps protect against extreme temperatures.
Consider using tea tree mulch where weeds have become a problem, as the material stops unwanted seeds from sprouting. It’s also a top option during prolonged periods of drought, as you won’t have to water your garden bed as often. Read this article on the benefits of Tea Tree Mulch
Sugar Cane Mulch
Sugar cane mulch is an environmentally-friendly by-product obtained during sugar cane farming. Farmers collect the plant leaves, then chop them up and filter them to remove any dirt or dust. As a result, it’s one of the cleanest mulch types on the market.
Sugar cane mulch enhances nutrients in the soil, which can reduce the need for fertiliser. The material also helps retain water and suppress weed growth.
You can expect sugar cane mulch to decompose quickly, usually in about six months. Therefore, the best place to use sugar cane mulch is on the most regularly maintained parts of your property, such as vegetable gardens and flower beds. Read this article on the benefits of Sugar Cane Mulch
Pea Straw Mulch
Much like sugar cane, pea straw mulch is an eco-friendly by-product—this time from the harvesting of a pea crop. By-product mulches are better for the environment than other types as they come from material that would otherwise go to waste.
Pea straw mulch is known to suppress weed growth and retain moisture. As its high in nitrogen, it enhances soil microbiology to create a healthy environment for worms. The mulch also enriches the soil, making it suitable for edible gardens (like veggie patches) and decorative landscaping.
Lucerne mulch is a type of hay used for livestock fodder. Because the material is rich in essential nutrients, it also works well as an everyday garden mulch.
Lucerne mulch increases potassium and nitrogen levels to enrich the soil while reducing fertiliser costs. The material helps retain water, regulate temperature by reflecting sunlight, and slow weed germination. Its nutrient-rich nature also stimulates root growth and promotes worm activity in the soil.
One of the main advantages of lucerne mulch is its versatility. The popular all-rounder works well in a wide range of gardening applications (it’s perfect for edible gardens). However, it’s more expensive than other mulch types and breaks down quickly, so you’ll need to apply it more often.
True to its name, cypress mulch comes from the shredded wood of the cypress tree. Its dense, fibrous texture helps inhibit weed growth, retain moisture, and won’t wash away in heavy rain.
Cypress mulch is cheap to purchase outright and doesn’t decompose quickly. As a result, it’s a common, cost-effective mulch type for large-scale landscaping projects.
Cypress mulch has a lovely fresh forest-like aroma and an earthy brown colour that creates an appealing contrast beneath verdant plants and trees. As it serves as a natural deterrent against termites, it’s a top option to lay around the perimeter of your home. – Read this article on the benefits of Cypress Mulch
Soft Fall / Pine Bark Mulch
Pine bark mulch primarily comes from the shredded wood of pine trees, although other evergreens like fir and spruce may be added to the mix.
The long-lasting mulch takes a long time to decompose and will retain its natural dark red-brown colour. Like many mulch types, pine bark helps retain water, regulate temperature, and prevent soil-borne diseases. The material works well for acid-loving plants, which thrive in low-pH soil.
However, its lightweight composition makes it unsuitable for sloped garden beds and/or areas that receive heavy rain—it easily washes away.
The product is also known as soft fall as its aerated, feather-light nature reduces the impact of falls. For this reason, it’s a popular mulch type for public playgrounds.
Hoop Pine Mulch
Hoop pine mulch is a rough-textured, curly-brown product from the hoop pine tree. Most hoop pine mulch is dark brown in colour, though it’s not uncommon to see light shades of pink or red.
Hoop pine mulch works well to retain moisture and prevent weed growth. However, the primary advantage is its heavy weight and interlinking shape, which helps hold the mulch in place. Consequently, it’s a great option to use on steep embankments or wind-swept/rain-prone areas.
As a nifty bonus, you can expect hoop pine to last up to three or four years.
Forest mulch is a blend of several tree species whose branches are fed through a woodchipper to create chunks of varying shapes and sizes. Unlike other types, forest mulch is left in the sun to age for three months to remove harmful components like tannins.
The cost-effective mulching solution helps retain water, suppress weed growth, insulate against extreme temperatures, and safeguard against weeds.
Forest mulch is an excellent option for a fine-grade, natural-looking product to lay in small garden beds.
How To Choose The Right Type of Mulch for Your Project
Mulches come in a wide array of styles, each of which excels in different areas. Almost every common garden mulch will reduce weed growth, regulate temperature, and retain moisture. However, some do this better than others.
When weighing up mulch types, you need to consider the following:
- Budget: how much can you afford to spend per cubic metre?
- Garden type: is it for a veggie patch or a decorative garden?
- Longevity: long-lasting mulches work out cheaper and more convenient.
- Colour: what colours would look best in your garden?
- Colour fading: some mulches turn grey more quickly than others.
- Weight: Heavier and/or interlinking mulches won’t blow or wash away easily.
- Water retention: vital in drought-prone areas.
- Weed prevention: prioritise this when you have issues with invasive weeds.
- Temperature regulation: helps plants survive during hot summers and frigid winters
- Soil microbiology: do you want to promote worm growth?
Shop for Mulch at Wellers Hill Hardware
We’ve provided some handy pointers about which mulch types suit various landscaping applications.
If you’ve got any more questions, pop into our Tarragindi store and ask our in-house gardening professionals for advice. With over 50 years of experience in the industry, we know our mulches inside out.
We also stock a wide range of commonly used mulch types at competitive prices, including all the options outlined in this article.
Call Us Wellers Hill Hardware Today
Call us today or visit us in store for quality products and materials at a competitive price!