Border edging keeps mulch from spilling onto the path in this landscape. Photo credit: pistildesigns Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0
A deeply dug edge creates a well defined garden bed and keeps mulch in place. Gregory Garnich Flickr CC BY 2.0
Using mulch is a great way to add visual interest to the landscape. It can be used to create a neat appearance and help define the edges of planting beds. It also has a variety of excellent benefits.
Using mulch in the landscape is one of the seven steps or principles of xeriscape design. Mulch helps conserve water by reducing evaporation from exposed soil surfaces. Be sure to use the correct mulch type and depth for the …
By following some simple rules, mulch can be an effective way to conserve water, add organic matter to the soil, and keep annual weeds from germinating.
Organic mulches consist of plant material that eventually breaks down in the soil.
Common mistakes include applying a mulch layer that is too thick and mounding a mulch “volcano” around shrub and tree …
Although inorganic mulches can be used to create attractive and low maintenance planting beds, they also can create a few problems.
Problems With Inorganic Mulch:
- Large areas of inorganic mulch may increase soil temperature
- Avoid black plastic – it does not allow water, nutrients or air to penetrate the soil
- Inorganic mulches do not provide nutrients to plants
- Rubber mulch may be harmful to plants
A Note on Weed Barrier or Landscape Fabrics:
Weed barrier fabric does not work well …
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 …
Organic mulches are materials that are or once were living plant materials that are placed on the soil surface to prevent erosion, weed germination, and reduce evaporation.
Organic materials such as bark, wood chips, and newspaper can be used. Most are effective weed barriers. …
Many materials have been used as mulches. Inorganic materials, anything not living, such as rocks and plastic can be used. Most are effective weed barriers. Cost, availability and aesthetics are all elements that factor into choosing a type of mulch.
Types of Inorganic Mulch
Weed barrier and …
Choosing the correct mulch material is important when planning a water wise landscape. Mulch can increase water retention in soil, however, using organic mulch with some very drought tolerant plants can cause too much moisture to be retained and potentially cause root rot.