Some types of Mulch can be blown away by strong winds, especially when there aren’t proper retainers to keep it in place.
Mulch can be kept from blowing away by installing a protection blanket, edging, wind barrier, or applying a mulch glue. Alternatively, using heavier mulches such as crushed concrete, rubber shards or even larger wood chips can prevent the likeliness of it being displaced by strong winds.
When mulch is blown away, it can cause an unwanted mess, not to mention the loss of the mulching material, which may have cost you money to purchase and time to lay down.
This article will explain the various proven methods you can use to prevent mulch from blowing away without spending much time or money.
Why Does Some Mulch Blow Away?
Mulch is used for conserving the moisture of the soil. But still, it can blow away by high and mighty winds because of its lightweight. Therefore, the more lightweight mulch is more likely to blow away than the heavier ones.
There are many types of mulch that can be either natural or artificial. You can use synthetic mulches like rocks or other relatively heavier mulches to keep them from blowing away by winds.
They will do the job just fine, as they will let the water and oxygen through them reach the core of the soil and benefit the plant.
The downside of artificial mulch is that it will NOT decay over time to get mixed with the soil and add essential minerals.
That would create another problem, right? So, what can you do? The ideal course of action, in this situation, would be to use the wood chips as mulch, but they should be large enough so that they aren’t affected by high winds.
Also, you can also use Pine Barks for mulching. The reason is the same. That they are heavy enough not to be lifted by the wind.
How To Keep Mulch From Blowing Away?
There are steps you can take to prevent it from blowing or at least reduce its risks. There are methods like mulch netting, using wind barriers, edging, or wetting it while applying. We will go through them one by one. Let’s begin.
1. Mulch Netting
Mulch netting is laying a protection blanket-type substance over any kind of mulch to keep it blowing or overwatering.
This protective blanket is made of fiber, coconut fiber, and other inorganic materials. It is a promising method to protect your mulch, primarily if you use lighter mulch like hay or straw.
2. Wetting when Applied
When you apply or add water to something, it is evident that it becomes heavy and dense. Hence, it is an excellent way to make your mulch relatively heavier and reduce the blowing risk.
However, it does have some complications, as you must keep a balance of watering it because a lot of water will make it thicker enough to stop the oxygen and water from passing through. And the lack of watering will make it thinner enough for weeds to penetrate it. So, keep a check.
3. Wind Barrier
Wind barriers are synthetic breaks usually made of organic things like trees or bushes. The primary purpose is to slow down the strength of the wind.
They effectively protect the soil from getting eroded, provide shelter for domestic animals, and increase the soil’s fertility. Moreover, they also add beauty to your garden and are very useful.
This is also an effective way of preventing the blowing mulch. In this process, you would have to use a shovel to dig around the edges of the mulched area.
You will make it neatly edgy. Then, one can use rocks, plastics, or any metal to place them on the edges. They will work as barriers between the mulch and the wind.
5. Mulch Glue
Mulch glue is among the simplest ways of keeping the mulch firmly placed in the dirt. You can do it simply by applying the glue to the downside of the mulch, and thus the mulch will stay firmly fitted.
See how this YouTuber uses some natural methods to prevent mulch from blowing away.
How Do You Secure Mulch on a Hill?
What is worse than using mulch on a hilly area and constantly having to worry about it sliding down or blowing away?
The air or wind pressure is relatively higher in hilly areas than anywhere else. Therefore, you need to take certain steps to make sure the mulch does not blow away.
The reasons can be many. They can either be rain or fast winds and mulches that have relatively poor textures. One thing to keep in mind here is that as high as your area is, the more difficult it will be for you to keep the mulch intact.
Avoid the use of plastic under your mulch, as it also helps the mulch to slide away.
Furthermore, you can use the same techniques in the hilly areas that you can use anywhere else, like netting, edge fencing, and others.
The best mulch you can use on hilly areas is Shredded bark mulch. You would have to put some artificial fabric on it to stop the winds from causing any danger to your mulch and soil.
These nets are made up of manually manufactured particles to be used over the mulch.
Fencing is used to prevent the moisture as well as the mulch from sliding down a sloping area, as the heavier the mulch, the more likely it will slide off. So, it is pretty simple.
You will put up fencings around the mulch. You don’t need to be told about how to put up and use fences around the mulch.
How To Mulch in Windy Areas?
Before mulching, you would have to choose the correct mulch for this purpose. As you would know, there is natural and synthetic mulch.
The main difference between these two is that the first one decays to benefit the soil, but the latter does not. We will talk about both separately.
First are the natural mulches that are Wood chips or pine barks. Living in a windy place, it is essential to protect your soil and its mulch from getting displaced by the winds.
That is why you must use wood chips that are slightly heavier than ordinary ones. The reason is simple to make it difficult for the winds to displace or destroy them.
As mentioned above, to keep your heavier mulch intact, you can go for wind barriers placed between the mulch and winds. Or you can build a short wall to lower the wind pressure. And remember to water it as required.
The second is synthetic mulches such as rocks. The rocks can be an excellent choice to use as a mulch against the winds; as you know, they are heavy enough not to get displaced by the winds.
They let the oxygen and moisture slide through them to the soil’s core. However, one thing to consider is that synthetic mulches do not decay to get mixed with the soil and benefit it.
Alternatives To Light Mulch
There are lighter mulches like hay or straw, compost, or leaves that can be an excellent choice for mulching as they are natural and will eventually decay and benefit the soil.
But they are not ideal for windy locations because they are too lightweight, and the winds can easily displace them. For this reason, it is essential to use slightly heavier mulches to keep them in place.
The alternatives to light mulch are:
- Rocks (they are synthetic and challenging to be displaced),
- Landscape fabric (they are used under mulch for better outcomes),
- Larger wood chips
- Crushed Concrete
We have elaborated more on the benefits and the downsides of using some heavier mulches. See them here:
Using gravel as mulch
Using crushed concrete as mulch
What is the Best Mulch To Use on Hills/Slopes?
You will need to know the height of the slope or hill you are covering with mulch before choosing a type of mulch. You should also determine whether you need a slow-decomposing mulch or an economical mulch since these factors will influence your choice.
Shredded bark is most commonly used on hills and slopes because it takes longer to break down than other types of mulch and is affordable. It is also considered to be a more environmentally friendly option than rubber mulch or artificial mulches.
Should You Mulch Every Year?
No! You don’t have to change your mulch every year. However, you should replace it when the mulch is decaying and you are certain there is no other way around it.
If you want numbers, then 4 to 5 is the maximum. This means that you would need to change/replace it after 4 to 5 years if you are taking care of the mulch pretty well.
It is crucial to use mulch in all parts of your garden to keep the soil fertile, moist, and in good shape. However, if you live in a windy spot, some of it will probably get blown away before it’s time to be replaced. There are several ways how you can fix this problem.
I recommend that you water your mulch whenever it becomes lightweight enough not to be lifted by the wind, but not so much that it becomes overly dense to complicate its primary job.
I also suggest using wood chips as mulch to ensure the flow of oxygen and moisture, which will protect the mulch from blowing away.