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Parks, Recreation, & Culture » healthy landscapes, healthy living » Xeriscape Gardening

Principle #6 - Mulching

In nature, plants drop leaves, twigs and branches onto the soil below them which protects plant roots from heat, cold, and drought. It also enriches the soil and controls weeds.

When we mimic nature and apply a layer of mulch to the surface of our soil, our landscapes benefit the same way.

Organic Mulch

Organic mulch must to be renewed periodically, as it breaks down after a period of time. It adds nutrients to the soil and improves soil structure as it decays. Types of organic mulch include:

  • Bark - coarse or fine grades
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaf litter - pine needles, shredded leaves
  • Compost
  • Shredded newspaper
  • Composted sawdust
  • Wood chips

Inorganic Mulch

Inorganic mulch, depending on the colour, can cause heat buildup in the soil and around plants, which can then increase water requirements. It should be used carefully for this reason. Types of inorganic mulch include:

  • Crushed gravel
  • River rock
  • Lava rock
  • Pea gravel

Avoid plastic or other impermeable materials which restrict the flow of water into the soil.

Depth of Mulch

Generally create a layer of mulch about 7.5 cm (3") thick, slightly less for smaller particles, up to 10 cm (4") for larger pieces. Too much mulch will limit the air flow to plant roots, and too little won't control weeds.

Time to Mulch

It is best to mulch in the spring after the soil has absorbed winter moisture, but before summer temperatures rise high enough to start pulling the moisture back out from the soil.

Karla Hoffman, Integrated Pest Management Coordinator
955 Concordia Way
Kamloops, BC V2C 6V3
ph (250) 828-3888

Note: All correspondence is entered into our system and will be directed accordingly. The City of Kamloops will endeavor to contact you within two business days. Thank you.

healthy landscapes, healthy living