Use mulch to give new plantings a good start
Mulch—such as gravel, decomposed granite (DG), and wood chips— is any natural material used to cover the top few inches of soil. In most waterwise landscapes, a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch is sufficient.
Keep soil cool
Many waterwise plants will not thrive in soil that is both hot and wet. Mulch helps prevent this, especially during the establishment phase when semiregular watering is required.
Mulch prevents evaporation by protecting the top layers of soil from direct sunlight.
Use mulch to prevent, but not eliminate, germination of weed seeds. All landscapes require some weeding.
Organic mulches, such as wood chips, add natural materials to the soil as they break down. This especially benefits gardens with heavy clay or compacted soils.
Wood chip mulch
Wood chip mulch is an easy way to cover a lot of ground. Use wood chips in woodland gardens, around fruit trees, and in native gardens during establishment.
Decomposed granite (DG) is broken-down rock. A 2- to 3-inch layer of DG is suitable for many native plants from California’s drier chaparral and desert areas.
A popular mulch option, gravel is suitable for California native plants from chaparral shrublands and deserts.
Get more in-depth information about the different types of mulch materials on our Waterwise Garden Planner website.
Learn about our Free Mulch Giveaway program.
Watch our Mulch and compost online workshop on YouTube.
Find out where to buy plants and landscape materials.