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A Guide to Barks and Mulches

Barks and mulches are perhaps one of the most underrated yet important horticultural products in our gardening range and a hugely popular purchase for our customers due its versatility in both small-scale gardens and large landscaping projects.

From nourishing your soil and suppressing weeds in your flower beds to safeguarding tree roots in construction areas, mulch is the go-to solution for sustainable gardening success. Meanwhile, our range of timber chips are the ideal for use on pathways, tracks and horse arenas and our virtually dust-free Playbark is a superb product for adding low-impact absorption and protection to children’s play areas.

What is mulch?

A sustainable garden solution

Mulch is essentially a protective blanket for your soil. It serves multiple purposes: curbing weed growth, retaining soil moisture, and shielding the earth from harsh weather conditions. Some mulches even nourish your plants by slowly releasing nutrients, while organic options, like Fountain Timber’s range of woodland mulch, encourage worms and insects to enhance soil health and structure.

bag of bark chippings
bark and mulch used in landscaping project

Which mulch is best?

Organic vs. inorganic

Mulch can be broken down into two categories: either organic and inorganic, each suitable for a wide variety of uses. Organic mulches are typically made from decomposed plant materials, including compost, fallen leaves, grass trimmings, as well as wood chips, pruned branches, and long-lasting bark nuggets.

Meanwhile, inorganic mulches consist of items such as stones, gravel, pebbles, along with synthetic products such as plastic coverings, landscape fabrics, and repurposed rubber. A distinguishing characteristic of organic mulches, however, is their ability to decompose over time, making them a more sustainable choice for the environment, as well as offering much more in the way of natural aesthetics for your garden.

organic mulch used in raised beds
natural mulch and bark

what are The benefits of using mulch?

Practicality and natural aesthetics

Mulching is vital for garden health, offering multiple benefits. It retains soil moisture, essential for plant vitality, and suppresses weeds, reducing competition for resources. Mulch also insulates plant roots, guarding against temperature extremes, and breaks down to enrich soil, enhancing fertility and structure.

Beyond practical advantages, mulch improves garden aesthetics, providing a cohesive, natural look and accentuating plant features. Using products such as ornamental spruce bark, you are able to regulate soil temperature to further support plant health, making it an indispensable part of garden care for both functionality and visual appeal.

close up of bark nuggets
bag of woodland mulch

WHen to use mulch?

Timing is everything

Timing is crucial for effective mulching. Applying mulch in early spring prevents weed seed germination, giving plants a vital head start. Meanwhile, autumn mulching prepares the garden for winter, providing a protective layer that's particularly beneficial for new plantings needing extra establishment care.

This seasonal strategy ensures your garden remains healthy and well-maintained year-round, with each application serving a specific purpose in the garden's lifecycle. 

timber chips
bark and mulch used in landscaping project

How to apply mulch

A handy guide

Weed removal

Eliminate all weeds by pulling them out with their roots to stop them from growing back. Alternatively, weed-killer can be used for effective and quick weed control.

Soil preparation

Enrich open, bare soil with a general-purpose fertilizer or soil conditioner before applying the mulching product.

Mulching technique

Spread mulch, such as chipped bark, around plants to a 5cm depth, making sure it doesn't touch the stems of young plants. Rain will clean away any dust.

fountain timber stock melcourt 

Endorsed by the RHS

brushwood decking

Endorsed by the RHS, Melcourt is the country’s leading provider of natural mulches, play surfaces, soil improvers, and a whole range of other organic horticultural products that are renowned for their superior quality and environmental sustainability.

Fountain Timber are delighted to stock a great number of Melcourt products in our barks and mulches range; from ornamental bark and wood chippings to a variety of high grade soil conditioners and compost that are vital for improving the structure and quality of your soil.

melcourt sustainable growing medium
melcourt pine mini chips

How can we help?

Fountain Timber produces its own woodland mulch, a blend of locally sourced tree cuttings and bark, perfect for your diverse gardening needs. If you'd like to find out more about the benefits of mulch or need advice on the right product for your project, get in touch. Our team is here to help.

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