Mulch is a critical element for a water-efficient landscape. A layer of mulch acts like insulation for the soil by regulating soil temperatures and reducing evaporation of water from the soil. It also adds tremendous visual appeal to landscapes.

This illustration shows how to apply mulch around trees and shrubs.

  • Mulch reduces weeds by blocking sunlight access to seeds in the soil
  • Keep mulch away from base of plant to avoid stem rot
  • Plan on a 2-4” mulch depth

Weed fabric will not eliminate all weeds and can cause other problems for plants over time.

Organic mulches, such as wood chips or shredded bark, are beneficial because they add nutrients and improve soil structure as they break down. Because they break down, organic mulches must be reapplied every 1-5 years. Trees especially benefit from organic mulch.

Gravel mulches come in a wide range of colors and sizes for a variety of design options. Gravel does not add nutrients to the soil and can reflect heat onto plants, which is great for desert vegetation.

Recycled glass can provide creative mulch opportunities, especially as accents in smaller areas or pots.