It’s the ideal time of year for de-weeding your borders and revamping your flower beds, and with all that hard work spent weeding, and with the ground still warm, its worth applying a good layer of wood bark over the soil to keep it protected, moist, and weed-free over the coming months.
It looks (and smells) really great
Wood bark (or border bark), makes your garden borders look smart, finished and very attractive. With bark on your garden borders, the plants seem to ‘pop’ with more vibrancy and colour. Not only does wood bark make your garden look great, it also has a wonderful pine aroma and will fill your garden with the sweet scent of the forest.
It locks in moisture
A generous layer of wood bark will act as a mulch, locking moisture into the soil, meaning your garden will not need watering nearly as often. The bark reduces evaporation of the water in the soil, often reducing the need to water the garden by at least a quarter.
It adds protection
Over the cold winter months, a thick layer of wood bark will keep the roots of garden shrubs and perennials protected from frost, ensuring their return in the spring and summer. The layers of wood bark creates warm air gaps which keeps the soil and roots of plants warm and protected, and able to withstand the onset of a cold harsh winter. Wood bark will also add a layer of protection to plant’s roots over the hot dry summer months, preventing the base of plants from burning through the heat of the sun.
It keeps weeds at bay
Wood bark creates a barrier between the soil, and the air and daylight, discouraging the growth of weeds. Although it will not eradicate them entirely, the lack of light and air will prevent them from growing so vigorously. Any weeds that do penetrate the barrier won’t take so much of a hold and are easily pulled out of the ground.
Over time, wood bark will eventually decompose into the ground, releasing valued nutrients into the soil and improving its composition. When the bark has completely rotted down, apply another layer over the surface of the soil to benefit from several more years of protected soil and strong growing healthy plants.
It deters some pests
With the rough structure of wood bark, it can be useful to deter some pests which may be causing a nuisance in your garden. Cats in particular are not keen on wood bark, they prefer nice dry soil rather than shards of bark to sit on (and they hate it in their paws), so make sure that you apply the bark deep enough so they don’t simply dig through to the soil. Slugs, the gardener’s most disliked pest, can also be deterred with wood bark. The coarse make-up of the bark with its sharp edges and uneven texture can avert slugs from trailing all over your flower beds, so for any gardener it really is worth considering using wood bark in the garden.
How to apply
Simply spread the wood bark evenly over the soil to a depth of around 3” using a rake or by hand, it’s that easy!