Mulch Options

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.

Irrigate less

Mulch prevents evaporation by protecting the top layers of soil from direct sunlight.

Reduce weeds

Use mulch to prevent, but not eliminate, germination of weed seeds. All landscapes require some weeding.

Enhance soil

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

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.

Get Started

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.

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