Orange is known for its beautiful gardens but when you can only water them for one hour a week under tough Level 5 water restrictions they need help.
Gardening expert, and Orange mayor, Reg Kidd, is ready to give some great green thumb advice to help gardeners throughout the Colour City.
In the first of a series of articles to run regularly in the Central Western Daily he said garden mulch was a great, but often overlooked, way of increasing plant life.
"It is really critical, particularly in Australia," he said.
Cr Kidd said putting mulch around plants helps preserve moisture, aids in weed control and helps build up the structure of your soil.
And it has environmental benefits as many products could be recycled to create mulch.
WHAT YOU CAN USE FOR MULCH
- Saw dust, wood chips and wood pulp. Cr Kidd suggests mixing it with animal manure for 2-8 weeks before putting it around your plants.
- Fresh wood chips from a cut down tree or branches. Mix it with green plant material, like lawn clippings to boost the nitrogen levels in the material.
- Bark chips
- Gravel, stones, quartz and scoria. Use the finer sizes.
- Plastic sheeting. It was popular years ago but now not as good as a weed mat.
- Hay, lucerne, straw. Excellent for the high nitrogen levels.
- Pea straw, sugar cane straw and eucalypt leaves are readily available.
- Peat moss.
- Mushroom compost. "It is very, very popular," Cr Kidd said.
- Hessian bags.
- Pine needles.
HOW TO USE IT
"It is important not to do it too deep to make sure the moisture is getting through to the plant," he said.
Cr Kidd recommends placing mulch six centimetres deep or thick, if your material is thick and course, four centimetres if it is medium consistency and only two centimetres for finer materials.
"The finer materials will compact a little bit and not let the water through as much," he said.
"Just don't have it too thick."
Cr Kidd also suggested gardeners put sheets of paper near the plants and place the mulch on top of it to maximise mulching.
He said it was important to have your mulching done before the one hour weekly watering time (6pm-7pm on Sundays).
"Direct the water to the base of the plant. The top of the plant doesn't need water, that's where you lose water," he said.
"Mulch, mulch, mulch. It can save so much water."
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