According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the
average American household uses about 50 gallons of water a day to irrigate
lawns and gardens (http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/pubs/outdoor.html
With water conservation on the minds of many California residents, especially
in summer, a simple way to reduce the amount of water needed to maintain a
healthy yard is to place a layer of mulch around trees, shrubs and gardens.
layer (2" to 4") of mulch placed in gardens and landscapes helps hold in
moisture after watering. The water can better penetrate deeply into the soil to
reach plant and tree roots. Mulch reduces water
evaporation and also acts as an insulator from the hot summer sun. All this
means less watering is needed. Watering schedules can be extended an extra day
or two depending on the weather and plant type.
Prior to adding mulch, prep the soil first. If your soil is primarily clay, add composted
amendments to help keep the soil loose and aerated so water can more easily
travel into the soil. For sandy soil, compost gives the soil
substance that prevents soil erosion.
mulch is often made from chopped leaves, grass clippings or shredded bark and
wood. Inorganic mulch can be rocks, gravel and plastic material. Organic mulch
has the advantage because it enriches the soil as it decomposes. Mulches with more wood content provide fewer nutrients and
decompose slowly. Softer mulches contain more nutrients but decompose quickly.
laying mulch, leave a 5" radius around each plant. You don’t want the mulch to
touch the plants because the constant moisture invites plant disease. Rake the mulch every so often to expose new mulch. Since organic
mulch decomposes over time, when only a thin layer remains, add more.
Labels: compost, drought, mulch, organic mulch, soil amendments, summer garden, water conservation, water saving