Document Type



Utah State University Cooperative Extension

Publication Date


First Page

water-wise landsdcaping, mulch, organic mulch, inorganic mulch


Mulch can provide many benefits in water-wise landscapes. Mulch covers the soil and prevents crusting, compaction, and water evaporation. In fact, mulching around trees, shrubs, and in flower beds can result in a ten-fold reduction in evaporative water loss from soil. Reducing soil water loss means more water is available to plants and less water needs to be provided. Mulch also reduces the number of weeds in a water-wise landscape by preventing light-induced germination of weed seeds. With fewer weeds, less cultivation is required, which can prevent damage to plant roots, soil structure, and soil organisms. In addition, mulch moderates soil temperature and protects plant roots. In winter, moderation of soil temperature can prevent plants from heaving out of the ground due to freezing and thawing. Mulch also can be an important visual design element in a water-wise landscape, and it is used along walkways, in plant borders, and f