will soon have access to an environmentally-friendly
garden mulch product developed at Leeds, thanks
to a £30,000 award won by its inventor.
straw-based mulch – called Strulch –
was developed by Dr Geoff Whiteley in the
school of biology (Reporter 471,
It will be marketed by Ingwermat, a company
formed to use patents developed at Leeds,
with the help of the Home Grown Cereals Authority
mulch is made from shredded straw treated
with iron minerals which turn it brown and
slow the rate of decomposition. It lasts for
up to two years, is effective in weed control,
reduces the need for watering in the garden
and is a deterrent against slugs and snails.
mulches reduce evaporation and hinder weed
growth. Straw mulches are commonly used in
arid countries but not extensively in the
UK because they rot quickly or look unsightly.
Strulch is stable against decomposition and
Whiteley said: “We are targeting gardeners
to encourage them to use Strulch on more areas
in the garden such as perennial beds and vegetable
plots because it works well and is very competitively
is environmentally-friendly because it is
made from locally produced wheat straw rather
than chip bark and other imported mulch products.
is already being used by the Eden Project,
the Royal Horticultural Society Harlow Carr
Gardens, the Earth Centre at Doncaster and
Helmsley walled gardens.