There’s a common misconception that all garden care happens in the springtime, however, there is a lot of preparation that must take place in the Autumn, an important one being mulching.

Mulching around your plants in the Autumn has many benefits, from preventing soil erosion, supressing weeds to saving water. In this blog we will explore the different ways mulching is beneficial for your plants, how to do this and our best recommended products to use.

What is Mulch?

Simply put, mulch describes loose coverings or sheets of material placed on the surface of the soil around your plants. It can be applied to bare soil or to cover the surface of compost in containers.

There are two main groups of mulch: biodegradable and non-biodegradable.


Why Autumn is the best time for Mulching

Mulching can be put down at any time of year, however, one of the more ideal times is the Autumn for many reasons. The first one being the soil is warm and moist at this time of year, meaning that when the mulch is laid it will trap in the warmth and moisture. Therefore, protecting your plants against the frosts of the winter.

It is also recommended to mulch in early spring to protect your plants against the summer heat by locking in essential moisture for the soil.


The Benefits of Mulching

There are a multitude of benefits to mulching your plants. These being:

  • Supressing weeds
  • Encourage beneficial soil organisms
  • Prevents soil erosion
  • Deter pests
  • Acts as an insulating layer during frosty weather
  • Reduces the effects of ground freezing
  • Saves water, locking in moisture
  • Gives your garden a neat and tidy appearance


What can you use for Mulching

Various organic mulches such as pine needles, straw, glass clippings, sawdust and fallen leaves are a good option for introducing nutrients into the soil. However, we would advise you to be careful using straw because of the seeds, it can cause a weed problem in the springtime. You can choose weed-free straw for this purpose.

A good choice for mulch is using fall leaf, if you have your own trees, this can also be completely free! That said, one concern of using dead leaves is they are low in nitrogen which is an essential nutrient for spring growth. If you decide on using dead leaves, then ensure you apply 1 cup of nitrogen-rich fertilizer for ever cubic foot of leaves – unfortunately no longer making this a free option.

Grass clippings are another option for your mulch, make sure to apply this in thin layers on multiple passes and don’t use grass clippings if you have used herbicides on your lawn.


Melcourt Products for your Mulch

Melcourt is a market leader for mulching products, with a range of 8 different types of mulch. This includes the award-winning SlyvaGrow Farmyard soil improver.

They are all formulated from natural, organic materials, using bark-based ingredients which hold Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. This certification promotes the responsible management of the world’s forests.

SlyvaBark Pine Mini Mulch

This option is a professional-quality, highly screened pine bark. The best place to use this product is individual pots, planters and any decorative borders in your garden. It is also vegan friendly and endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society.

SlyvaBark Pine Bark Flakes

This mulch has a slightly chunkier particle size, making it the perfect choice for garden borders or placed around the base of trees. The size of the bark also makes it ideal for larger plant containers. It is also vegan friendly and endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society.

SlyvaGrow Farmyard

This award-winning soil conditioner adds nutrients and soil structure as well as improving the fertility and yield of the soil. Another benefit is that is enhances the soil’s water holding capacity. Working in the same way as farmyard manure but it is 100% peat-free organic matter and vegan friendly. Made from anaerobic digestate, a by product of renewable energy production this product is exclusively obtained from the Duchy of Cornwall and local farmers near Dorchester.

Fully approved by the Soil Association and endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society.


How to Apply Mulch to your Garden

The best time to mulch your vegetables and flower beds is October, just as your plants are beginning to die back. You must make sure there is moisture in the container before applying your mulch.

Start by carefully spreading directly onto the compost or soil surface, you can use your hand to do this or a garden fork or a rake. There is no need to insert a membrane before the mulch is laid. Ensure you keep a good gap between the plant stems and the mulch as this helps the air circulate. You should aim for at least 5cm of mulch, replacing when the first layer has rotted down.


Ready, steady, mulch!

If you would like more help or advice on mulching and the products available at Garden Supplies, contact our friendly team today on 01453 547299 or email