From an acquaintance I got two bags of freshly shorn sheep’s wool. She has her own sheep and I find the idea of direct purchase just fine. Part of the wool we have, after cleaning, used for felting and as pillow stuffing. Washing the raw wool was very time consuming and a real mess. So the prospect of washing the really dirty wool pieces was anything but tingly. However, we definitely didn’t want to just throw them away and after a bit of research I came across the topic of mulching with sheep wool.
Mulching with sheep wool and what else it does good for the garden and the plants
Fertilizing with sheep wool
Sheep wool contains about 12 percent nitrogen, as well as phosphorus, potassium and sulfur, making it a high-quality slow-release fertilizer for vegetables, fruits and ornamentals.
Mulching with sheep wool
Sheep wool loosens the soil and regulates the pH value. Incidentally, you can also mulch wonderfully with other materials. You can read more about mulching in the article Mulching: Protection and nourishment for “Mother Earth” by our natural garden expert Rudi Beiser.
Water storage with sheep wool
Sheep wool stores water and releases it when needed. It is particularly suitable for raised beds because they can dry out quickly.
Keep pests away with sheep wool
Slugs, voles and moles don’t like the smell and texture of sheep wool and are scared away with it.
How to apply sheep wool for mulching?
Fresh raw wool contains a lot of lanolin, the wool grease from the sebaceous glands. The fine wool hairs stick together as a large fleece after shearing. First roughly pluck the wool apart. Then spread it either directly around the plant in the area of the roots or over a large area of the entire bed. Cover the wool with a little soil. Be prepared for the wool to have a strong smell for the first few days. However, this will quickly dissipate. Nevertheless, I would not recommend fertilizing houseplants with it. In a raised bed, however, feel free to incorporate a generous layer of wool.
Tips for fertilizing and mulching with wool
- Since the prices for raw wool have unfortunately fallen sharply or the further processing is so expensive, you can organize sheep wool cheaply or even free of charge from a shepherd in the vicinity. Just ask for it.
- If you still have leftovers, you can dispose of them in the compost if necessary. But the wool is actually too good for that.
- Sheep wool is suitable as winter protection for sensitive woody plants.
- If you can’t get sheep wool directly from the shepherd and the smell or processing is too troublesome, you can also buy fertilizer pellets, sheep wool nubs or fleece.
Mulching with sheep wool has a sustainable effect
Something better could not have happened to our garden in the hot dry summer. Especially the additional water storage by the sheep wool layer is a real benefit for the plants. The irrigation water does not simply disappear into the ground, but is stored. In addition, sheep wool as a fertilizer provides a constant nutrient content compared to manure. We have already been able to convince our garden neighbors of this. They now also work with sheep wool in the garden …