Mow For Your Mind

In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week (9th – 15th), we’ve been thinking about the many ways to switch off and de-stress, and we think there’s nothing more powerful than getting outside and spending time in your garden. That’s why we’ve launched the Mow For Your Mind campaign, to help everyone recognise the importance of simply spending time outdoors, tending to your space and, of course, mowing your lawn!

While gardening has been proven to reduce stress and the symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve your mood, mowing the lawn alone can have some pretty significant effect on your mental health and wellbeing. We’ve put together five top ways simply mowing the lawn and spending time out in the great outdoors can improve your mental health:

  1. Relax and unwind

Mowing the lawn gives you the chance to take time out from the busyness of modern life and provides a moment to clear your mind.

  • Reduce stress levels

When mowing the lawn, our bodies release less cortisol and more natural endorphins, which promotes happy thoughts and feelings.

  • Improve your mood

Taking regular exercise outdoors in the garden can help to improve the symptoms of mild anxiety and depression.

  • A better sleep

The combination of fresh air & exercise when mowing your lawn, especially in the afternoon or early evening, can improve sleep quality.

  • Connect with nature

Taking in your outdoor surroundings and observing the beauty of nature is proven to boost wellbeing.

As part of the Mow For Your Mind campaign, we’ve also pledged to donate 10% of our total sales from our award-winning MX3440V lawnmower, between 4th and 15th May, to the wonderful mental health charity, Mind!

The MX3440V model is the perfect choice for mindful mowing as it’s cordless and battery powered, meaning it is quieter than most, so you can tend to your lawn with less noise, delivering a truly peaceful mowing experience that will leave you with a lawn you can be proud to call your own!

Plus, with five cutting heights available, between 25cm and 75cm, you can perfectly cut your lawn throughout the year, keeping it healthy and looking vibrant. It’s 40V Lithium-ion battery also provides the power to take the backache out of mowing, keeping you relaxed while enjoying your time to switch-off.

What are you waiting for? Get out in the garden today with your lawnmower and make the most of nature’s healing powers!  

Mow For Your Mind this Mental Health Awareness Week

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (w/c 9th May), here at Cobra, we encouraging gardeners to get outdoors and switch off while mowing.

From 4th to 15th May, we are donating 10% of the total sales of our award-winning MX3440V cordless lawnmower to the fantastic mental health charity, Mind.

Being a cordless, battery powered lawnmower, the MX3440V is quieter than most, meaning you can tend to your plot without noise or petrol fumes disturbing the peace – promoting a truly peaceful mowing experience along with a clear eco-conscience too!

A report in the Mental Health Journal* cited gardening as being able to reduce stress and improve mood, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.  Furthering, research by Mind found that 67% of adults said that spending time outside helps them boost their mental health**, demonstrating that gardening can be a simple, accessible route to wellbeing while reducing stress and anxiety too.

To help you switch off and find mindful moments while mowing, here are our top five ways in which simply mowing the lawn and spending time in the garden can help significantly improve mental health and wellbeing:

  1. Relax and unwind – Mowing the lawn gives you chance to take time out from the busyness of modern life and provides a moment to clear your head
  2. Reduce stress levels – When mowing the lawn, our bodies release less cortisol and more natural endorphins, which promotes happy thoughts and feelings
  3. Improve your mood – Taking regular exercise outdoors in the garden can help to improve the symptoms of mild anxiety and depression
  4. A better sleep – The combination of fresh air & exercise when mowing your lawn, especially in the afternoon or early evening, can improve sleep quality
  5. Connect with nature – Taking in your outdoor surroundings and observing the beauty of nature is proven to boost wellbeing.

Discussing Mow For Your Mind, Peter Chaloner, managing director of Cobra, explained: “The Mind charity does fantastic work helping people and ensuring mental health issues are at the top of the list for policy makers. We’re delighted to be supporting Mind. Enjoying time in your garden is great way to unwind, and mowing the lawn has been proven to be highly beneficial.” 

The MX3440V cordless 40V lawnmower, which has been selected as the “Mow For Your Mind” mower for 2022, retails at £232.99. It offers five cutting heights ranging between 25mm and 75mm, easily allowing adjustment throughout the year to provide for healthy grass during every season. With a 34cm/13” cutting width, it is ideal for small to medium gardens, and offers compact storage too.

The MX34440V is part of the extensive battery powered garden machinery range from Cobra, which includes not only lawnmowers but also hedgetrimmers, leaf blowers and grass strimmers that are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that are interchangeable throughout the range. The battery can be fully charged from flat in 85 minutes, giving the MX3440V a run time of up to 30 mins – the perfect amount of time to take in nature and boost mental health.

To find out more about Mind and the work the charity does, visit www.mind.org.uk.

*Mental Health Review Journal, 2013: ‘A review of gardening-based interventions for people experiencing mental health difficulties reported that benefits include a reduction in symptoms of depression and anxiety and an increase in attentional capacity and self-esteem. Key benefits include emotional benefits such as reduced stress and improved mood.’

** Mind.org.uk, The Mental Health Emergency, 2020.

It’s time for a spring clean!

Spring has finally arrived! With a sea of daffodils sprouting, trees blossoming and the sun peeking through the clouds, it’s the perfect time to turn your attention to the garden. The winter months may have taken its toll on your garden, so giving it a thorough spring clean will help bring it back to life so it can be enjoyed over the coming months.

We’ve put together some of our spring cleaning tips to help you get your garden ready for the new season!

Bring lawns back to life!

Grass will start to grow around this time, after being dormant during the winter. To ensure growth is strong and vigorous, lightly scarify the grass to remove moss, thatch or other debris that may have built up over the winter months. This will help to improve the air flow to the grass root and encourage better drainage, which will result in greater growth.

If your lawn is showing signs of compaction, such as a distressed appearance or rain run-off, it’s vital that you aerate your lawn too. Aeration aids in better airflow and will also allow water and vital nutrients to reach the grass root, encouraging a vibrant lawn you can be proud of.

Our SA32E Electric Powered Scarifier is our choice for getting two jobs done at once, with its ability to scarify and aerate lawns. It’s 13” scarifying drum brings an end to hours of manual raking, removing thatch and debris from grass with ease, whilst its 12 aerating blades effortlessly alleviates compaction.

After giving your lawn some much needed TLC, give your lawn its first cut of the year. It’s important to only give your grass a small trim, every fortnight, as this will help to keep it in the best condition whilst encouraging it to grow. As the season progresses into summer, you can start to mow your lawn more regularly, but it’s important to start small! We have the largest range of lawnmowers here at Cobra, so you can be sure that there is the perfect one for you to create the lawn of your dreams, whether its cordless, electrical or petrol powered!

Smarten up the edges

As grass starts to grow, lawn edges will start to look unkept so it’s best to tidy them up to help create a picture perfect lawn – it’s a simple job that makes all the difference! To help make the maintenance even easier, our range of grass trimmers takes away all the effort, making it quick and simple to transform your lawn.

Our GT600E offers a high performance tool, with its 90° tilting cutting head making for effortlessly, speedy cutting. Its plant protection bar also makes it possible to trim close to plants and shrubs without damaging them and its telescopic shaft allows for increased operator comfort and manoeuvrability.

Trimming and pruning galore!

Your lawn isn’t the only thing that will need some care and attention. Spring is the ideal time to lightly trim your hedges to get them back looking neat and tidy. Trimming them little and often will also help to encourage the appearance of thicker, greener hedges, leaving you with a flourishing garden of greenery. Our H5024V Cordless Hedgetrimmer can help to tackle the most demanding jobs, with its double sided blades, helping you create beautifully shaped hedges with ease. If you have extra-long hedges that you can’t quite reach with an ordinary trimmer, our LRH5024V Cordless Long Reach Hedgetrimmer will help you tackle the awkward jobs, so every inch of your hedges is trimmed to perfection!

If you want flourishing trees, plants and shrubs this summer, now is the perfect time to get pruning, to encourage plenty of flowers, foliage and colourful blooms! For large plants and trees though, you’ll want a trusty tool to help make the job quicker and easier. Our CS420-14 Petrol Powered Chainsaw offers a robust pruning appliance, with its Walbro Carburettor and Oregon® bar and chain providing all the power to make maintenance easy and effortless.

Have you started the annual garden spring clean yet? If not, get outside and get your garden looking its best after the cold, winter months, so you can enjoy spring and summer evenings in an outdoor space you’re proud to call your own!

Prepare your outdoor spaces for the upcoming summer months

Spring is here and while it’s great to finally be out enjoying the great outdoors after a long, cold winter, it’s also time to start thinking about maintaining your garden so you can enjoy summer in a beautifully kept space. Whether it’s simply trimming edges or establishing the right lawn mowing routine, there’s plenty you can do to create a beautiful exterior space that you and the family can enjoy all summer long.

We’ve put together some of our top tips for getting your garden summer ready, and with our wide range of tools, garden maintenance will be simple, quick and easy.

Control grass and weed growth

While some areas of your lawn may have seen weed growth over the winter months, edges and smaller areas where lawn mowers cannot fit may also start to look untidy and ragged as grass growth picks up, so regular maintenance in these areas will help to keep your garden looking its best. To target those harder to reach places, opt for a brushcutter to ensure you’re reaching every inch of your space. Here at Cobra, we have a range of brushcutters that will help to transform lawns, each of which take the backache out of maintenance.

Our BC270K Petrol Brushcutter  is powered by a 26.3cc2-stroke Kawasaki engine, providing a powerful and robust brushcutter that provides faster acceleration, added torque and increased fuel efficiency. It’s tap ‘n’ go double line cutting head also allows for precise and effective mowing and thinning while its robust guard provides greater operator safety. Plus, with its ergonomic bike handlebars, the BC270K boasts greater comfort, balance and control, making larger areas a breeze to tackle.

Revive grass by scarifying

Throughout the winter months, your lawn may have experienced a build-up of moss and debris. This can cause serious damage to your lawn as it restricts water, air and nutrients from reaching the grass root which can cause a stunt in growth and a number of diseases to establish. So, as growing season starts in spring, it’s the perfect time to scarify your lawn to restore its strength and vibrancy in time for summer.

For an effortless run, our SA32E Electric Powered Scarifier is perfectly equipped to tackle any lawn, bringing to an end hours of manual raking, easily removing thatch, weeds and other debris from lawns with its 13” scarifying drum and powerful 1400 W motor. With ergonomically positioned operator controls, the SA32E has also been designed to make operator use as comfortable and safe as possible.

Plus, after scarification is complete and your lawn is free from any debris, the SA32E also comes equipped with a bladed aerator that has 12 high quality steel blades. This means that you will be able to break down any compacted soil beneath the grass so much needed air, water and nutrients can travel to the root and produce healthy, vigorous grass.

Prune trees and hedges

Whether your garden is full of hedges or trees, spring may be a great time to trim and prune them so they look neat and tidy and are ready for the upcoming season.

Pruning trees is a vital process in keeping it happy and healthy. The process mainly involves shortening its branches or removing any diseased or damaged wood to make sure that it doesn’t spread to the rest of the tree.  It also reduces the risk of wind damage and helps to maintain its structural integrity. Tress most prone to silver leaf disease are best pruned from April, so it’s best to check if any of your trees are at risk.

Hedges also require regular trimming, usually in spring and summer, to keep them dense and compact.

Our HT55040VZ Cordless Hedgetrimmer is the perfect tool to help you tackle your hedges, with its 55cm double-sided blade and 40V Li-ion battery making light work of removing excess branches from hedges. Its double-sided feature also provides the ultimate product for shaping hedges as you can alter the direction of the cut easily and its ergonomically positioned controls not only makes operator use more comfortable, but gives greater manoeuvrability.

For more labour intensive tasks such as pruning trees, our CS1024V Cordless Chainsaw offers a lightweight chainsaw ideal for pruning and cutting jobs around the garden. The 10” Oregon bar and chain is always ready to tackle the job at hand, and with both machines battery design, it opens the door to countless uses, even in places with no electricity or in places where cords and cables won’t reach.

It’s important to invest in your garden so that you not only have a luscious space to enjoy in the summer but a garden you can be proud of all year round. Here at Cobra, we’re passionate about making your garden maintenance regime as simple and easy as possible, so your garden journey is one you can enjoy rather than dread.

Get your garden spring ready with Cobra

With the days getting longer, the sun seeping through the clouds and the first buds blooming, it’s a sure sign that spring is on its way. While activity may still be limited during February, it’s a great time to dust off you lawnmower and gardening tools to give your outdoor spaces a tidy up in preparation for the new season ahead.

We’ve put together a few of the top tasks you can undertake and the simple things you can do in February to tackle your post-winter garden to get it looking its best.

Keep off the grass!

The frost may be retreating for another year, but it’s still important to avoid walking on or allowing any debris to find its way onto the lawn. Keeping lawns clear will allow the grass and soil to soak up as much sunlight as possible, without the risk of soil compaction or root damage, encouraging the growth of stronger, more vibrant lawns in the spring and summer.

Our BP43C Petrol Backpack Blower offers a quick and effortless solution to removing debris from your lawn, with its 43cc, 2-stroke engine providing the power to pick up leaves and branches within seconds. Plus, its ergonomically positioned controls not only make operator use comfortable and simple, but it also makes it as safe as possible.

Establish clean, sharp edges

If you want to get ahead, now is an ideal time to trim the edges of your lawn. Over the past couple of months, the grass may have grown slightly, leaving edges looking unsightly and rugged. Trimming the edges of your lawns and re-establishing your boarders will keep your garden looking neat and tidy in time for springtime. It’s a small job that can make a huge difference!

For effortless and speedy edging, our GT3024V Cordless Grass Trimmer is the perfect tool for the job.  With a 30mm cutting width and a 90 degree tilting cutting head, the GT3024V makes it easier to reach in corners and it creates a beautiful finish around boarders and verges. Its Eco Mode also offers a quieter operation and runs for a longer period of time, whilst its Turbo Mode provides a more powerful trim and a faster rotating head that is optimised to cut a larger volume of grass.

The first mow of the year

When nearing the end of the month, if weather conditions have been dry for a few days and the ground is firm, you’ll be able to tackle the first mow of the year. The first few cuts are important as even though the grass may have started to grow, it still won’t be at its full strength, so it’s vital that you take care to avoid causing damage.

We recommend checking that the blades on your lawnmower are sharp to ensure for a smooth cut. Blunt blades can tug at grass, causing damage to the roots and impacting its growth for the year ahead. You should also set the cutting height to the highest option, as shorter cuts will stimulate grass growth and encourage the blades to thicken over time.

Our MX3440V Cordless 40V lawnmower offers 5 cutting heights between 25mm and 75mm, allowing you to easily adjust the height throughout the year to provide well-maintained, healthy grass at all times. It’s battery powered design also provides a powerful yet lightweight combination, eliminating the backache of looking after your outdoor areas and the need for petrol and electric cables.

Although activity is limited in the garden during this time of year, there is still plenty of jobs that you can be doing to keep your outdoor spaces in the best condition possible, so they can be fully appreciated when the spring and summer months arrive.

Tackle Blue Monday by getting out in the garden

Now the festivities are behind us, it’s common for January to bring a sense of gloom. January 17th 2022 marks Blue Monday; reportedly the saddest day of the year, thanks to the date’s (often) dull weather, lack of daylight and the realisation that the festive season has passed.

There are many ways to help overcome the gloomy few weeks post-Christmas, though, and here at Cobra we rely on the healing power of nature to lift our spirits. Whether it’s nurturing plants, harvests or lawns, setting aside some time to connect with nature can be extremely beneficial to your mental health.

We’ve put together some of our favourite gardening jobs to keep the mind busy at this time of year, helping tackle those January blues.

Blow away any debris

To prepare your garden for the growing season, January is the perfect time to clear debris and have a general tidy up.

 Fallen leaves, branches and other debris may have found their way into your guttering, so make sure to clear them so that the winter rain can fill up your water butts. Keeping gutters, particularly on sheds and greenhouses, free from debris to help avoid clogging and subsequent leaks or damage.

Take time to clear pathways, patios, decking, lawns and steps of any soggy leaves, moss, algae and other fallen debris to keep your outdoor space under control. For garden tidying, our BV26C Petrol Powered Blower Vac is a brilliant piece of equipment – being both lightweight in its design and powerful in its performance

Hedges or ivy looking out of control? Now is the moment to trim back any climbers that have outgrown their space before birds start nesting.

At Cobra, we have a wide range of hedgetrimmers, including the HT62C Handheld Petrol Hedgetrimmer which – thanks to its versatile design – makes light work of awkward jobs. It’s 22cc engine also provides a powerful performance, allowing you to take back time and control of your garden’s maintenance.

Put your Christmas tree to good use

Once you’ve taken down your Christmas decorations, there are countless ways you can recycle your tree and use it in the garden – creating a great job for a gloomy January weekend.

Branches can be used as a frame for garden climbers, and the needles are perfect for mulching, ready to use as insulation for more tender plants through the colder months.

Shredding your tree sounds like a laborious task, but with our QS2500 Quiet Shredder the job can be done quickly and easily, without disturbing the neighbours. Powered by a 2500W motor, the QS2500 shreds garden waste into tiny pieces, which reduces the overall time it takes for it to break down and the mulch to form. Its 50-litre collection box means it can store a large amount of wood, so even bigger trees can be shredded in one go

For those feeling a little blue this January, getting out in nature has been proven to positively impact our mental health, so why not make this the month to blow away the cobwebs in your garden – and by doing so, your mind. Here at Cobra, we are passionate about providing the tools to make your time spent in the garden as simple and stress-free as possible.

How to keep your garden healthy in the midst of winter

A layer of frost and a sprinkling of snow can help turn our gardens into real-life winter wonderlands, but the drop in temperature can be harsh on plants and trees. We’ve put together a few jobs to tackle now to help them survive the winter weather.

It’s pruning time!

Pruning plays a vital part in producing flourishing, healthy plants, and during the winter many plants and trees are dormant making it the perfect time to cut them back. This also lets you assess the state of your plants and trees so you can prune accordingly, giving them the best chance of blooming in spring. Winter pruning is best suited to plants such as roses, clematis and apple and pear trees whilst others prefer a spring, summer or autumn prune, so check your plant’s preference before you start.  

Most deadheading can be done by hand, but for larger trees and shrubs our CS420-14 Petrol Powered Chainsaw can tackle the more demanding jobs. Fitted with a world leading 16” Oregon bar and chain and a Walbro Carburettor, the CS420-14 is designed to cut through wood with ease, making maintenance a simple and quick task. It also comes equipped with a safety chain brake that stops the chainsaw chain from rotating around the bar and can be engaged by pushing the handle forward or by force of inertia that occurs when the saw kicks back.

Blow the cobwebs away (and the leaves!)

Whether it’s fallen leaves or a layer of snow, a covering over lawns can leave your grass at risk of rot and diseases, such as snow mould. Removing any debris from your lawn is the best way of keeping your grass healthy during the winter, and our range of blower vacs make this process quick and easy with even the toughest debris.

The BV26C Petrol Powered Blower Vac features a lightweight yet powerful 26cc, 2-stroke engine that is ideal for clearing medium to large areas effortlessly and can easily be switched from a vacuum to a blower with a simple change of tubes. Its handheld design and shoulder strap also help to improve manoeuvrability, and even takes the weight of the collection bag, helping to take the backache out of clearing the garden.

Insulate your plants with mulch

Before the temperature plummets, it’s best to insulate your plants to keep their roots from becoming damaged. You can make winter mulch from a number of materials, including rotten manure, grass clippings, straw or hay and even wood chippings. Winter mulch is great at providing protection for plants, but make sure it is not too dense as air and water still need to get to plants to keep them healthy and growing.

The QS2500 Quiet Shredder is perfect for shredding bulky items up to 40mm in diameter, such as branches and pieces of wood, and collecting them ready for mulching. Plus, with a 50-litre collection box, a large quantity of materials can be prepared at once. Equipped with a practical plunger, the OS2500 also speeds up the shredding of heavier loads and its ergonomically positioned controls make operator use comfortable, and more importantly, as safe as possible.

Keeping on top of jobs such as these will help to keep your garden looking and feeling its best. Regular maintenance will help avoid any damage to your plants and lawn and help your garden bloom in the spring.

What to get avid gardeners for Christmas

The festivities are fast approaching and whilst the gardening season is drawing to a close, there are plenty of gifts you can give gardening lovers for Christmas, so they’ll have everything they need to maintain their outdoor spaces when the time comes to getting out in the garden again.

Here at Cobra, we have a wide range of tools for any gardening task, making maintenance effortless and convenient. Our impressive range of electric, battery, petrol and cordless products also offer reliability and power as well as a host of unique features, so there’s the perfect tool for everyone.

The perfect gift for lawn lovers

Give the gift of a picture-perfect lawn with the ultimate in lawncare. Our MX4140V offers exceptional performance, combined with a stylish and robust design, that delivers a perfectly cut lawn you can be proud of. Powered by a 40V Lithium-ion battery, it allows you to get more done without the need for petrol or electrical cables and offers a quiet yet powerful run. Its seven cutting heights, from 25mm to 75mm, also offers flexibility, helping you achieve a superb low finish when desired, and the ability to tackle longer grass when needed

A gift for the edges

If you’re looking to gift something smaller, we have a wide range of grass trimmers that can help garden lovers maintain their lawns so every inch is neat and tidy. Our GT600E electric grass trimmer is a high performance trimmer that is powered by a 600W motor and a 30cm cutting width, creating fewer passes and making garden maintenance quick and simple. Its 90 degree tilting cutter head also enables you to trim hard-to-reach places whilst its plant protection bar allows you to tend to grass around delicate plants and shrubs without damaging them.

The GT600E has also been designed to make trimming lawn edges simple and effortless, with the addition of an auxiliary adjustable handle providing increased operator comfort and ease in manoeuvrability.

Picture perfect hedges

For those who like to keep their hedges in shape, our HT62C is the perfect gift that will help to transform even the most unruly of hedges. Featuring a 24” blade and a 22cc 2-stroke engine, the HT62C has been designed for use on all types of hedges and with the addition of the Twist Grip handle, no job is too difficult or awkward to reach. Its 62cm double sided reciprocating cutting blade, 28mm tooth spacing and blade tip protector also creates ease when shaping, so the gardeners who love to experiment with their hedges and shrubbery can do so with ease.

Deliver a powerful blow

Clearing wet fallen leaves can be a tiring and difficult job, but with our BV26C petrol powered blower vac, garden clean-up has never been easier! The 26cc blower/vac is ideal for medium to large areas as it delivers a powerful design and can be easily converted from collect to blow in an instant by simply changing the tubes, helping to clear a large volume debris quickly and effortlessly. Plus, with a quick start design, a lightweight feel and a shoulder strap to take the weight of the collection bag, the BV26C takes the hard work out of cleaning up your garden.

With Christmas on its way, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about the perfect gift for garden lovers. Here at Cobra, we have a wide range of tools, with a range of unique features that cater to any type of gardening task, with each tool offering a practical, powerful and stylish design!

What you can do with fallen leaves this autumn

Fallen leaves can be seen as a nuisance to some, with a potentially suffocating lawns, blocking drains and gutters and causing pathways to become slippery. If left to collect in the wrong places, leaves can become troublesome and potentially hazardous, but when used correctly, they can be extremely beneficial to your garden, keeping it healthy and looking vibrant, especially now that winter is on its way.

Create a luscious lawn with fallen leaves

you’ve got a layer of leaves on your lawn, it’s important to remove them as quickly as possible as they can easily suffocate the grass, starving it of oxygen and, eventually, killing it. However, removal isn’t the only answer, as mowing them into your lawn can provide a great soil conditioner and will aid in moisture retention, keeping it healthy during the winter.

In order to get leaves small enough to break down into the lawn, you’ll need a mulching lawnmower. Our MM51B is the perfect option for this, with its Briggs & Stratton 500E Series petrol engine providing a powerful performance like no other, whilst its mulching function allows you to cut your grass and fertilise at the same time – taking the time and backache out of creating a luscious lawn.

If you have other uses in mind for your leaves, our LB45024V  leaf blower makes it simple and easy to gather your fallen leaves into one place with its lightweight and highly manoeuvrable design. Plus, its 24v Li-on battery is compatible with the entire Cobra 24v system, allowing you to power your entire collection of garden machinery with one battery.

Transform leaves into compost

Fallen leaves are the perfect source of brown material that can be used to make compost. For the most nutritious and effective compost, the leaves should be moist (not wet) and mixed with green materials such as grass clippings and vegetable peelings. Make sure to mix your compost at least once a month, though, to allow for the regular circulation of oxygen.

As each element within the compost starts to deteriorate, a thick black compost will form, providing your plants and lawn with the perfect nourishment, allowing it to thrive during the winter and keeping it in perfect condition for the spring.

Mulching on

Although fallen leaves may be seen as troublesome to some gardeners, they can be used as an effective, natural, and free, mulch. Not only does leaf mulch suppress the growth of weeds and eventually improve soil as it decomposes, but well shredded leaf mulch can also help to insulate plant roots from the frost without blocking the penetration of essential nutrients, water and air.

Insulate with nature

It’s handy to think ahead when it comes to looking after your garden. Although you might not need any leaves now, it’s a good idea to bag them up and store them in a cool, dry place, so you can have a supply of leaves to use all year round, as and when you need. These stored leaves can be used as a great form of insulation, too. You can pack as many bags as you can together along the walls of your garage or garden shed, concentrating on the coldest areas, to block out any unwelcome cold air.

It’s easy to think that fallen leaves are a problem in the garden, but with so many different uses for them, your garden can be easily looked after by simply collecting them as they fall, keeping the lawn looking luscious throughout the winter and the garden neat and tidy.

Mulch to help plants survive the winter

The summer months are drawing to a close and the cold, dark winter days are approaching. As the temperature begins to drop, time should be spent preparing the garden so that it can withstand the freezing, winter conditions ahead. Plants, shrubs and trees can be easily damaged and killed in severe temperatures, so it’s important to find ways to protect them so that they can flourish again in the new year.

Mulch is often used as a way to protect plants from the harsh effects of frost, helping the root continue to grow whilst avoiding limp and blackened growth. It’s best to apply mulch during the autumn (or in early spring), though, before the weeds have germinated, so the plants are fully sheltered before the climate shifts.

What is mulch?

Mulch is a loose mixture of materials that is placed on top of soil and around plants. There are considered to be two types: organic and inorganic. Both types suppress the growth of weeds and protect plants, but organic mulch, which is made from grass clippings, leaves, bark and any other dead plant materials, is generally preferred as it gradually releases nutrients into the soil as it breaks down, nourishing plants whilst protecting them. Inorganic mulch includes slate, pebbles, gravel and stone chippings and doesn’t offer these additional benefits.

How does mulch protect plants?

Placing a layer of mulch on top of soil and around plants, shrubs and trees provides a host of benefits. As well as releasing nutrients into the soil, a layer of mulch is also able to insulate plants from the frost and colder temperatures as it acts as a shield – blocking out the frost and any direct sunlight. Also, depending on the type of organic mulch used, it can be a great vehicle in retaining moisture as it conserves water from the soil by reducing the amount that is evaporated, providing further nourishment to plants.

Thick mulches, like those made from garden compost, are a great all-round mulch as they are packed with nutrients, helping to feed and replenish plants, whilst effectively retaining moisture and suppressing the growth of weeds. Leaf mould is another popular option, providing a fantastic, fast-acting soil conditioner despite the lack of nutrients it supplies. Mulches made from bark and wood chippings offer a dense alternative which takes longer to break down, but improves overall soil structure, which can further improve drainage and retention – creating the ideal habitat for plants.

What are the most common problems with mulching?

Even though mulching can provide many advantages, there are a number of things to keep in mind to avoid any potential problems. Firstly, a surplus of mulch can eventually suffocate plants, inhibiting their growth. Regularly raking mulch can alleviate the pressure on plants, though, allowing them to continue to grow whilst garnering the many benefits of mulch. Placing mulch directly on top of the stems of trees or the roots of plants and bulbs can also cause them to soften or grow into the mulch which can welcome a host of diseases, severely damage their overall health.

What tools can help with mulching?

Here at Cobra, we have a range of tools that will make the process of creating mulch simple and easy. The Cobra QS2500 Quiet Shredder is able to shred garden waste into tiny pieces, reducing the overall time it takes for it to break down and the mulch to form. Plus, with its handy 50ltr collection box, it’s easy to collect and store large amounts of garden waste before it needs discarding whilst reducing the amount of clear up. It’s quiet running also means you can cut up garden waste without disturbing neighbours or wildlife!  

If you want to use grass clippings for your mulch this winter, the MM51B Mulching Lawnmower offers a side discharge function that dispenses the clippings into neat lines at the side of where you are mowing, making it easy to collect. If you don’t want to use your grass clippings for mulch, its mulching function will automatically mulch the clippings into the lawn, fertilising your grass and reducing the amount of clean-up.

With the colder months approaching, it’s important to find ways to keep your trees, plants and shrubs thriving and with our wide range of tools, mulching has never been so simple and easy.