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Does Mulch Soak up Water? (Plus Simple Alternatives for Absorption)

Does Mulch Soak up Water? (Plus Simple Alternatives for Absorption)

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Mulch has long been used by gardeners and landscaping experts to improve the health of the soil and also to promote the growth of different plants.

Basically, mulch is a layer of material that is applied on top of the surface of the soil, and offers a plethora of benefits. It is used for conserving moisture in the soil, and it also plays an important role in reducing the growth of weeds in the garden.

Not only that, but mulch can also improve the aesthetic appeal of a particular piece of land. Mulch is primarily organic, though in some cases, synthetic mulch is also used.

Common types of mulch include shredded or chipped bark, pine needles, newspaper clippings, grass shavings, shredded leaves, and many others.

You can easily buy bagged mulch from the local stores in your area, and use it in your garden. The only thing that you need to keep in mind is to make sure that you store it properly, because moisture can quickly make the mulch go bad.

It’s recommended that you keep it safe in a shed and avoid letting any moisture come into contact with it.

Now, a lot of people are confused about watering once they lay down the mulch. Does mulch soak up the water? Do they need to add more water? What about the impact on the soil?

These are just some of the questions that come to mind for most people. After mulching your flower bed, you should wait a while before watering the plants.

Many people water right away, only to realize that the water never reached the soil. Why does that happen? The answer is simple: mulching prevents the water from reaching the soil. Some of the water usually runs off from the mulch, but a significant portion of the water is absorbed by the mulch completely.

For instance, pine mulch soaks up a considerable amount of water. Until the mulch has been saturated, it is going to hold that water. Eventually, the water will begin to pass on to the soil underneath.

Now, once the soil has been soaked completely, the wet mulch will get to work; it will keep the soil properly moist and cool during the hot summer months.

Moisture Retention

One of the major reasons why so many people use mulch is because it helps retain moisture.

Moisture retention is a key advantage because yields are affected directly based on the amount of water that is within the soil. In drier conditions where rainfall is relatively scarce, gardeners try to retain water in the soil as much as possible.

Mulching usually helps with this, because it covers the soil from the top and also keeps it cool. The level of moisture that evaporates from the soil is reduced by a considerable margin as a result.

This might come as a surprise to most people, but mulching can reduce the level of moisture in the soil by up to 80%.

When you add mulch on top, the soil will automatically lose less water, and this will eventually create a better environment for the plants in your garden. So, now that we know that mulch soaks up the water and slowly releases it into the soil, you might want to consider using it.

However, mulch isn’t the only option for soaking up water in your yard. There are several other alternatives that you might want to consider.

A few of them are listed below.

Creating a Suitable Landscape

If you want to take a more holistic approach for the whole thing, you should consider creating a suitable landscape around your garden. The landscape should be geared primarily toward absorption, so you need to add plants in the mix that are capable of tolerating wet sites.

On top of that, you need to make use of porous hardscaping materials as well. Make sure you add a few plants in the garden beds that are capable of tolerating excessive water in the soil.

If you are able to increase the drainage in the garden, you can also improve the water supply.

Use Kitty Litter

If there are wet patches in your garden and you are looking at ways to soak it up, you might want to consider using kitty litter.

Kitty litter is readily available in large bags, and you can easily find it at any hardware store. The best thing about kitty litter is that it’s inexpensive, and its entire purpose is to soak up excess water.

You should really consider adding kitty litter to certain areas of the yard where there is standing water. If you notice wet patches developing on the surface, you should pour kitty litter all over and let it rest.

Within a couple of days, you will notice that the entire area will have dried.

Then, all you have to do is remove the kitty litter from the surface, and you are good to go. However, if the wet patches reappear, you might want to consider taking a look at why the yard is getting wet again and again.

Absorbent Shrubs

There are quite a few water absorbent shrubs that you can add to your garden, and they will do an excellent job of soaking up the excess water. Adding water absorbent shrubs to your garden will also prevent waterlogging.

Common examples of water absorbent shrubs that you can add include the “Henry’s Garnet” and the Mexican Petunia. These are evergreen shrubs that you can plant in your garden, and they are going to do a fantastic job for you.

These are just a few main things that you should know about mulch and its absorbent properties.

You should know that the mulch will continue to break down over the passage of time, so it is going to lose a bit of its effectiveness. You will want to consider replacing the mulch after a couple of years if you want it to remain as effective as before.


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