Mulches for Home Grounds: Quick Facts


The next few tips are extracts from J..E. Klett, Colorado State University Extension landscape horticulturist, and professor, department of horticulture and landscape architecture who revised in January 2007 the original fact sheet on this topic authored by J.R. Feucht, who retired in November 1997.


Quick Facts...
  • A mulch is any material that provides protection and improves the soil when applied to the soil surface.
  • There are two types of mulches: organic and inorganic.
    • Depending upon the type, mulches:
    • Reduce surface evaporation.
    • Improve water penetration and air movement.
    • Control soil temperature fluctuations.
    • Protect shallow-rooted plants from freeze damage and frost heave.
    • Improve soil structure and nutrient availability.
There are two types of mulches, organic and inorganic. Organic mulches include wood and bark chips, straw, grass clippings and seed hulls. Inorganic or inert mulches include weed-barrier fabrics, gravel and rock.
The ideal mulch does not compact readily. It does not hinder water and air movement into the soil, it is not a fire hazard, and it breaks down slowly. In addition, the ideal mulch is uniform in color, weed-free, attractive and does not blow away.

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