One of the keys to creating a low maintenance gardening is to use mulches to suppress the weeds and reduce the need for weeding.
In areas that are predominantly trees and shrubs you can use a weed sheeting covering my bark chips or wood chip mulches. On areas that contain perennial plants it’s best to use either spent mushroom compost or well rotted horse/farmyard manure making sure the material does not contain weeds initially.
These mulches will be incorporated into the soil over a period of time by the soil bacteria and by earthworms helping to improving the texture and water holding capacities of the soil.
One important point to remember with all mulches is that as they breakdown they remove nutrients from the soil as the bacteria uses the nutrients to help to break down the mulches so it’s important when you apply a mulch to add some fertiliser to the soil first we normally recommend a handful of Growmore fertiliser per square metre.
Spent mushroom compost is ideal for most soils and most plants however if you need to lower the pH in the soil or if you have plants that prefer acid soil conditions well rotted horse manure or farmyard manure is a better option as it is slightly acid.
Spent mushroom compost contains high levels of lime making it unsuitable for acid loving plants.
After the initial application of the mulch you will need to top it up every year and any more persistent weeds that grow through the mulch will need removing by hand or spot treating with Round up weedkiller.