More and more gardeners throughout New Zealand are catching on to the fact that putting a good layer of Mānuka mulch is a great way to retain moisture in the garden. Moisture locked in means reduced water lost through evaporation which is good news for our water supplies as well as our environment.
Kōlush is a new brand of garden mulch which is produced from the pruning and harvesting of Mānuka trees. The resulting mulch creates a veritable carpet of Mānuka fibre which layers and weaves within itself to effectively lock in water and other goodness prone to evaporation or deterioration in the sun.
Opotiki Osteopath and keen gardener, Fraser Reece, first heard about Mānuka mulch three years ago when other gardening friends recommended it to him as being good for weed control and to help condition the soil.
“It is a real pleasure to work with,” explains Fraser who spread a 10cm of the mulch over his third of an acre garden of flowers, flowering shrubs, trees and native ferns. “It’s a really nice substance, it has a pleasant smell and is easy to fork through – it breaks up evenly.”
As Fraser also quickly discovered, moisture retention is one of the important benefits of the Mānuka mulch which meant he was able to use less water to keep his garden hydrated even in the summer months and through drought periods.
“Previously I would have to irrigate a lot but over the past couple of years, I’ve used a fraction of the water and the plants haven’t suffered at all,” says Fraser. “Instead of watering every day in the summer months, I would just give the garden a heavy water once a week and the Mānuka mulch retained the moisture really well.”
The Kōlush Garden Mulch range is available as Mānuka or Mānuka+Seaweed. Both are made from bi-products of New Zealand Mānuka Group’s processing operations through the Mānuka oil processing and seaweed processing to produce Agar. The resulting mulch was originally only used by the East Cape landowner partners who put it back onto the Mānuka plantations from where it was machine and hand harvested.
However, as the plantations and oil processing activities have grown, the mulch was then offered to local gardeners and is now available through Palmers Garden Centres nationwide.