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The application of mulch, such as well-rotted manure or garden compost, is a simple exercise. However, there are a few tips that will make best use of the material and ensure that its benefit to the soil is maximised.
Whichever soil-conditioning, biodegradable mulch you use, it pays to prepare the soil before applying it. It will give the best results, and save you time and effort in the long run.
Fork out perennial weeds and pull out annuals by hand. Take care to conserve as much soil as possible. Tread lightly to reconsolidate loosened soil.
Rake the surface of the soil to level out dips and hollows. Re-firm as necessary. Rake out any compacted footprints to create a fine, crumbly 'tilth'.
Water thoroughly to ensure a moist interface with the mulch to be applied. Allow to drain for up to an hour to prevent smearing the soil when applying mulch.
Fork the mulch material onto the surface of the soil in heaps before spreading it out to an even depth of 6-8cm. Keep mulch away from plant stems.