- ‹ Prev
- Next ›
- slide 1 of 7
Research is showing that that mulches benefit the soil and the environment by reducing erosion.
According to Susan Day, a professor in the departments of Horticulture and Forest Services and Environmental Conservation at Virginia Tech, mulches help conserve moisture and suppress weeds, but how well they do those jobs, or how often they need to be replenished, varies from mulch to mulch.
David Mitchell, a graduate student working with Day, studied the performance of eight different mulch types and their affect on water runoff and sediment transport. Find out the results.Date Published: October 13, 2014Date Updated: October 13, 2014
First, all mulches have a huge effect on total suspended solids running off site.
Bare soil lost about five times as much sediment as soils with mulches covering them. Thus, mulches help control erosion.Date Published: October 13, 2014Date Updated: October 13, 2014
Second, geotextiles underneath mulches (such as “landscape fabric” meant to suppress weeds) appeared to accelerate water runoff production in Mitchell’s studies.Date Published: October 13, 2014Date Updated: October 13, 2014
Finally, each mulch wears differently and absorbs a lot of runoff on its own, independent of the soil beneath it.
“Think of mulch as a temporary forest floor,” says Day. “It affects the traditional realms of aesthetics, moisture conservation, and elimination of competition for landscape plants. But, it is also an important cog in the machinery of the water cycle by keeping the soil surface receptive to water. This improves water quality by allowing the water to get into the soil, instead of the storm water control system. Soil is an important part of the water cleansing cycle.”Date Published: October 13, 2014Date Updated: October 13, 2014
Landscape mulches come in wide arrays of colors and textures. Pine straw is common in some areas, shredded hardwood bark in others. Mulches can even be cocoa hulls or gravel.
The right mulch can:
1. Suppress weeds
2. Help soil retain moisture
3. Reduce water runoff
4. Reduce erosion of sediments
5. Provide aesthetic valueDate Published: October 13, 2014Date Updated: October 13, 2014
“Ideally, landscape plantings will fill in and cover the soil surface everywhere, including mulches,” says Day. “People are starting to recognize the potential of ‘stacked’ or ‘bundled’ ecosystem services and having every piece of nonpaved land in urban areas provide multiple benefits. Mulch can play a role in making urban landscapes part of our green infrastructure.”
For more information on mulching and soils subjects, visit: http://soilsmatter.wordpress.comDate Published: October 13, 2014Date Updated: October 13, 2014
Add Your Comment
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login