How Much Mulch to Use

What is mulch?

Mulch is a vapor barrier covering soil in landscape beds.  Mulches can be made of organic or inorganic materials. Flower bed mulch can help suppress weeds, maintain soil temperature levels, and provide a decorative touch to the bed.

How Much Mulch to Use?

Suppliers recommend from 1 to 3 inches of mulch on a highly sloped landscape. A hard rain will wash such material off the slope where sloping occurs.  Proper barriers must be installed to hold the mulch, and heavier materials such as gravels or rocks.

When choosing a mulch, aesthetics is typically the most important concern of a homeowner or landscaper.  A successful water conservation program will educate the final user about proper application of mulch, including maintenance in order to get the greatest water savings. Water savings are related to depth of mulch slope of soil, irrigation system, and proper application. Mulch placed too close to trunks of plants can provide a habitat for pathogens (fungus or molds).

Types of Mulches

Rocks and gravel hold heat more than organic mulches, therefore organic mulch should only be used with heat tolerant plants. Other inorganic mulch products include recycled rubber products. The principle advantage of inorganic mulches is the fact that organic materials decompose. Organic material must be replaced or added to every year.

Organic mulches, such as include shredded bark, leaves, and chipped wood can decay. After rainfall mulches can compact, and if anaerobic spaces develop.  A “sour” mulch with ammonia, or other organic gases can develop which can damage or kill the plants. Mulched beds with organic materials need regular turning to prevent such anaerobic processes. Some types of mulches can hold water better than others. Micro irrigation is recommended, however it is wise to avoid sprinkler irrigation which wets the entire mulched bed.

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Tips for Growing a Blue Plumbago


Blue Plumbago is relatively easy to grow, and blooms all year in climates with mild winters. With long, thin stems and pale blue flowers, it’s prized as a shrub, climber, potted plant and ground cover.  Although this shrub has few special needs, it does have specific requirements for ideal growth.

Plumbago is propagated from cuttings in the summer, but you can also grow it from seed. Plant plumbago in light, sandy, well-drained soils, spacing each shrub 36 to 60 inches apart to allow room to grow. If spaced properly, blue plumbago will naturally cascade in a fountain shape. Blue plumbago prefers slightly acidic soil, so don’t add lime to the soil or plant in alkaline soils. Blue plumbago requires six or more hours of direct sunlight each day. While it can tolerate partial shade, it will produce fewer blooms than if you plant in full sun. Blue plumbago can be grown indoors and in your garden.



Water new plants regularly to keep the soil consistently moist until the plants are established. Once established, blue plumbago requires watering only when the soil is dry to the touch. Blue plumbago is considered moderately drought-tolerant, and excessive moisture can lead to root rot.


Plumbago plants should be pruned heavily to control growth, maintain their bush shape and maximize blooms. Blue plumbago blooms on the current season’s growth, so prune faded blooms in late winter. Removing flower buds is not necessary. Remove old, diseased or dead branches completely to allow new growth. Cut back to live or healthy wood when pruning dead or diseased branches. Make angled cuts just above buds when pruning healthy growth to improve your plant’s shape. An application of fertilizer after pruning encourages new growth.

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