Mulching is one of the simplest ways to enhance your garden. It insulates the soil, protects it from erosion, conserves moisture, prevents weed growth, reduces soil compaction from heavy rain, provides a beautiful finishing touch to your garden, and may even improve soil quality.

The following materials have been tried and proven as effective as mulches:

  • Ground bark
  • Leaves
  • Sawdust, straw
  • Lawn clippings
  • Don’t forget to recycle your Christmas tree (they make great mulch)

Additional benefits include:

  • Reduces need for herbicides
  • Reduces water and energy use/costs
  • Adds organic matter to the soil as they decompose
  • Encourages the growth of worms and other beneficial soil organisms
  • Mulch also can be used to enhance the look of your garden

Learn more at Cal Recycle.

To find out how much water your landscaping requires, check out our handy drought irrigation guide at And, to find out if your water agency offers rebates on irrigation upgrades, visit the rebates page at