Benefits of Mulching: Moisture Retention

Benefits of Mulching: Moisture Retention

Mulching has many benefits. One of the beneficial effects of mulching is moisture retention. This is an invaluable practice when creating a water-wise landscape. In this section, we will discuss the ways mulch helps retain moisture and what mulches to avoid for moisture retention.

How does mulch help moisture retention?

Moisture is lost through a variety of ways. Evaporation of moisture from soils accounts for a large amount of moisture loss on hot, windy days. This can drastically affect the amount of water needed to effectively water plants. One way to retain moisture in the soil is by applying mulch.

Water Wise Advantages:

  • Gained by applying two to four inches of mulch on planting beds
  • Mulch will reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation by shading the soil.
  • Mulch acts as an insulator keeping roots of the plants at a constant temperature.

Mulches to Avoid:

  • Sheet plastic as a type of mulch. Prevents weeds from sprouting but inhibits water infiltration
Diagram comparing mulched and unmulched soils.
Comparison of mulched and unmulched soil. Mulched soil retains much more water. Photo credit: Fix


Additional Resources:


California – Mulch — a Gardener’s Best Friend


Missouri – Mulches


Virginia  – Creating a Water-wise Landscape
Georgia – Make Every Drop Count
South Carolina – Mulch
Florida – Mulching Practices for South Florida
Mississippi – Mulches for the Landscape
Florida – Mulch