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Get Mulching!

By Doug Eubanks, County of Sacramento Waste Management and Recycling Department

Looking to save some time and money in your yard work projects this summer?

Mulch can do just that! “Mulch” is any material that is spread evenly over the surface of the soil to help the growth of plants and the appearance of the landscape. You can create beautiful, healthy landscapes that control weeds, conserve water and reduce labor and water costs by using plant trimmings as mulch. Grass clippings, leaves and tree prunings that are chipped or shredded are called “recycled” or “green waste” mulch. Using these resources is part of a River-Friendly Landscape.

By working with nature to nurture the soil, we create less waste that, in turn, conserves valuable landfill space. River-Friendly Landscaping means working in harmony with the natural eco-system of the Sacramento region to foster soil health, reduce runoff and pollution, prevent and reuse plant waste and conserve water and other natural resources. Plant debris accounts for about 7% of what is thrown away annually in California. By using plant trimmings as mulch, landfill space is conserved, local soils are improved, less chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used and healthier landscapes are created, naturally.

Mulch is a very important practice in the design, construction and maintenance of landscapes and gardens. The benefits to you, the landscapes you care for and other natural resources are many. Using mulch can benefit your maintenance operations by:

  • Reducing weeds by as much as 90% -- causing less work for you!
  • Decreasing the costs of buying and selling herbicides
  • Reducing the need for trimming grass around trees and poles
  • Conserving water and cutting irrigation costs
  • Creating a system of natural nutrient cycling

Mulch also helps control soil erosion and adds value to a landscaped site in the eyes of neighbors, realtors and homebuyers. In addition to the green waste mulch mentioned above, other types include:

  • Chipped or shredded wood waste
  • Wood chips and shaving
  • Pine needles
  • Compost

Please visit these other mulch resources for more information:

What are you waiting for? Get mulching!

Is your landscape River-Friendly?
Use our benefits calculator to find out.

Here are some more in depth articles on specific RFL topics that you might find of interest:

Contest Winner

RFL Inspiration Garden

RFL Examples

Rain Gardens

Mulch, Grasscycling, and Compost

Get Mulching

Fertilize Naturally — Is Feeding Frenzy Really Needed?

Plant Trees, Save Energy!

Right Plant, Right Place!

Plant Selection

Plant Communities

Take Action to Save Water Outdoors…

Lawn Care: How Green is Your Grass?

Rethink Your Lawn

Pests Bugging You?

River-Friendly Pest Control

Managing Common Pests

Good Bugs

Interview about RFL (MP3)

Choose California natives first

Don't Blow It!

Reducing Outdoor Asthma Triggers


Watch the YouTube video
"Slow the Flow - Make Your Landscape Act Like a Sponge"
to learn about the importance of landscaping to stormwater quality.

The Seven Principles of
River-Friendly Landscaping

Click on any section to learn more