There are many environmentally friendly and horticulturally sound reasons to install mulch in the landscape. Among the primary benefits are the following:
1. Cosmetic Appeal - Mulch beautifies planter areas by giving bare dirt a uniform and rich dark brown finished appearance.
2. Water Conservation - Mulch helps to maintain cooler soil surface temperatures, thereby reducing evapotranspiration (evaporation of water from the soil) during warmer weather.
3. Disease Control - Mulch can help lessen the spread of soil and water borne diseases by reducing the splashing and run off that occurs during irrigation and rainfall.
4. Weed Suppression - Mulch makes it more difficult for weed seeds to germinate.
5. Chemical Use Reduction - Mulch can reduce the use of herbicides and pre-emergents by reducing weed germination.
6. Soil Erosion - Mulch prevents erosion by providing a buffer from irrigation and rainfall.
7. Soil Fertility - Mulch helps reduce the need for fertilizers by supplying soils with nutrients as micro-organisms contained within it are released during the natural process of decomposition.
8. Soil Structure - Mulch benefits soil structure via the incorporation of organic matter. This is especially true in Southern California’s often heavy clay soils.
9. Soil Compaction - Mulch can help reduce soil compaction and cracking by aerating the soil profile.
10. Paths and Trails - Mulch is an increasingly popular addition to paths and trails where cosmetic appeal, erosion control, and weed suppression are important goals.
11. Cost Savings - Mulch saves money on landscape costs for all of the reasons listed above!