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Avid gardeners can spend many hours tending their gardens, digging out weeds, planting flowers and shrubs, and manicuring their lawns. These green-thumbed artists often use different kinds of mulch for decorative purposes and to protect the plants and soil. Gardeners who live in high wind areas have a few options to keep the mulch from blowing away.
The organic material used as mulch is often light and easily blown away. Gardeners can keep the mulch wet and cover them with special netting to prevent this. Tackifier sprays are also available to glue the mulch chips together. There are also landscape fabrics that can be used in place of mulches.
After many hours tending his garden, nursing shrubs and flowers, and laying the mulch to protect and beautify the landscape, no gardener wants to walk into his labor of love the day after strong winds and have to rake up the mulch that has been blown onto the lawn. When planning to mulch your garden, also consider how you’re going to keep it there.
Methods of Keeping Mulch from Blowing Away
Many organic materials are used for mulching, such as wood, bark, and coconut chips. Straw, hay, buckwheat, pine needles, sawdust, and rice hulls are also used sometimes. A very economical option is to layer newspaper over the soil and cover this with landscape chips. Now to make sure the mulch stays in place!
1 – Wet the Mulch
It doesn’t matter which type of mulch you use, the easiest way to keep it in place is to wet it down. Rake the chips into an even 1 to 3-inch layer over the soil. Give it a good soaking with the spray nozzle. This allows the chips to nestle down into the soil, making them less likely to travel all over the garden. When the wind is on the cards, get your sprinklers ready to anchor the mulch in the soil.
2 – Use Netting
Natural jute netting and polypropylene plastic netting are great options for keeping mulch in place, especially on slopes. Before setting up the netting, rake the mulch around the plants, keeping it approximately 3 to 6 inches away from the stems.
Lay the netting over the mulch and cut it around the trees and plants. To keep it in place, you can use landscaping fabric staples. Place rocks, landscape edging, or bricks along the edges of the netting to hold it in place and create a nice border for the bed.
3 – Use Tackifier
Tackifier is a mulch glue that sticks the wood chips together but allows water to flow down to the ground. You can buy it either in liquid or powder form. You should apply both of these with caution, wearing protective goggles, a dust mask, and gloves.
The tackifier should dry for 24 to 48 hours before animals and children can be allowed near it.
4 – Edging Can Help
There are two types of edging that will help to keep mulch in place. Landscape edging is installed at the same level of the soil or a couple of inches above it. It stops the mulch that might scatter all over when the wind blows and prevents weeds.
Two types of mulch edgings are also available in mat form, with one being made from organic matter and the other from recycled rubber. These mats give a wide border that prevents weeds. They can’t get blown away and protects the plants from mowers and trimmers.
5 – Choose the Right Type of Mulch for Windy Areas
We usually think of mulch as only organic material including, wood and bark chips, straw, hay, etc. But pebbles and rocks can be used as inorganic mulch.
The perfect mulch would be beautiful, would allow air and water through to the soil, keep an optimum soil temperature, prevent the germination of weeds, and wouldn’t blow away. But there isn’t a perfect mulch, so you have to choose wisely.
In a windy area, preventing the soil from blowing away by using mulch would be your first priority. The second would be to prevent the mulch from blowing away! Inorganic mulches such as pebbles and rocks are good choices because of their heavy weights. Inorganic mulch will still allow water and air to pass through to the soil below. The disadvantage is that they don’t decompose and add nutrients to the soil.
If you prefer an organic mulch that is largely windproof, you may consider mulch made from large wood chips or ground pine bark, which are both quite heavy and wind-resistant.
You can also plant wind barriers to shelter the plants and mulch that suffer from the worst wind. Conifers can make a big difference quite quickly because of their rapid growth rate. You could build a wall or a fence that will act as a wind block.
Consider Landscaping Fabric Instead
There are woven and nonwoven fabrics used to perform the same functions as mulch, which are especially beneficial in windy areas. They keep weeds at bay but are still porous enough to allow air and water to flow through the soil.
Uses for Landscaping Fabric
Landscaping fabric appears to be one of the avid gardener’s best friends because it addresses a few of his gardening needs:
- For decorative purposes, the fabric is placed on top of the soil and pegged in with fabric staples. Cut some holes around your shrubs or trees and cover it with a layer of mulch a few inches deep.
- It can stay in place for a few years, and some gardeners consider it a permanent weed solution.
- The fabric is also used as an underlay beneath walkways and patios.
- It can separate soil from drainage areas.
Mulch serves multiple purposes but allowing it to blow all over your garden in the wind will defeat the object. If you are planning to use mulch in your garden, make sure to keep it in place when the wind blows.
You can do this by wetting the mulch, covering it with netting, using a tackifier, or inorganic material such as stones or rocks in high wind areas.
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