Mulching at the base of plants now will aid them in the summer when much needed water is required! Use garden compost or wood chips for the mulch but avoid grass clippings as mulching material as they impede the flow of water and air between the soil surface and atmosphere. The mulch also can help suppress weeds and act as an organic fertiliser to supply soil nutrients. When using fresh wood chips, recent research shows there is no need to compost chips prior to mulching. Research also shows that the breakdown products of a mulch are toxic to soil borne root decaying fungi so inadvertently can prevent attack from root rotting diseases such as Phytophthora.