High Desert Droplet - April 2021

Keeping it Growin’ – Your Guide to Mulch

Apr 9, 2021 at 12:11pm

Which mulch is right for you?

One of the most commonly used stormwater-savvy gardening supplements happens to be one of the most essential. We’re talking about mulch! Mulch is any material that is spread or laid over the surface of the soil as a covering. It protects our soil’s health and creates structure so that rainwater can easily soak into the soil. The structure of mulch also plays a critical role as a barrier to reduce runoff.

Before you run out and start mulching, it pays to know which type of mulch is right for you. Every mulch is different - here are the details to help you get started!

Bark
Bark provides a ton of benefits for landscaping and garden beds. Aside from moisture retention in spoil, bark prevents weeds from emerging and improves soil fertility as it decomposes. It’s also an organic form of mulch, meaning chemicals won’t seep into our soil on high temperature days. Consider using bark on your garden beds, shrubs or trees.

Shredded Leaves or Grass Clippings
Although shredded leaves and grass clippings can be used as mulch throughout your entire lawn, it is best used in areas where weeds are a recurring pest. Unlike bark, this type of mulch decomposes quickly and filters itself through soil acting as compost while protecting your lawn. With the added benefit of being a natural supplement, you can scale back your use of fertilizers or pesticides, leading to less groundwater pollution. Grab a bag and get to collecting today! Remember, grass clippings should be approximately an inch or less in length to avoid smothering your grass.

Synthetic Inorganic Mulch
Synthetic mulch like black plastic and landscape fabric helps retain moisture in soil but can decompose under high heat and release chemicals into our soil damaging our watershed. If a plastic cover is your only available choice, assist with drainage by cutting holes in the material and switch out the plastic if you start to see erosion or discoloration.

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