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Prevent Mulch From Washing Away: 6 Proven methods from experience


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I use mulch in my garden to protect my plants from weeds. It helps to retain the moisture in planting beds and keeping it in place is a must. Mulches can be made from both organic and inorganic materials. 

Preventing mulch from washing away when it rains can be done by using physical barriers that hold it within a given area or improving drainage around the garden. Adhesive sprays can also be applied which effectively binds the mulch particulates together limiting both wind and water erosion.

If you face this problem and don’t know what to do to prevent mulch from washing away when it rains, don’t worry, I have been through this multiple times and have come up with some fixes over the years which will be listed in this article.

I have used a Spray-on mulch lock on my garden for years. It saved me a great deal of money as it holds mulch in place which would have been easily washed away by rain. You can find it by clicking here!

How To Stop Mulch Erosion?

Prevent Mulch From Washing Away When It Rains

If the precautions are not taken in time to stop the mulch erosion, your garden can lose a lot of mulch which can be dangerous for your plant’s proper growth. 

There are a lot of ways by which you can prevent mulch from washing away when it rains. Let us discuss one by one a handful of ways to stop mulch erosion.

1. Use a Mulch Barrier

To prevent mulch erosion, another effective way is to use a barrier. A strong, physical barrier at the edges of mulch will effectively help you to stop mulch erosion. 

Barriers will keep mulch within the garden by stopping the flow of water which carries the mulch when it rains.

Additionally, the barriers also add vibrance to your garden apart from helping in stopping the mulch erosion. 

You can use stones or pebbles as a barrier around the edges of your garden. You can also select barriers made from Strong plastic material available in the market. 

These Barriers are available in different styles and will also serve as a decorative purpose. 

Here is a cost-effective barrier I personally use.

EasyFlex 3100-20C-6 Heavy-Duty Dig Landscape Edging Kit

2. Use Mulch Lock

Mulch lock is an adhesive stabilizer that reduces mulch loss from wind and rain by bonding the pieces of mulch together. 

It comes in a ready-to-spray canister that can directly apply the adhesive onto the mulch, preventing damage to your plants.

The adhesive lock can last up to a year and starts bonding immediately which yields the maximum bonding strength after 24 to 48 hours.

You can find the mulch lock by clicking here 

Here are also some other good viable and cheap mulch lock options

Mulch Anchor – Click here
Landscape Lock Mulch – Click here

3. Reduce Slope

If your garden has a sloped area. Try to reduce the slope of your planting beds to prevent mulch erosion

Slopes don’t like water because water likes to run off of them. Water runs with more speed on a slope. 

And in this way, it can erode the mulch with more power. By running in this manner it is carrying topsoil and nutrients with it. 

Try using mulch like shredded softwood on the planting beds present at the slope. By this, you can reduce the chances of topsoil and nutrients being washed away during rain. 

4. Use Different Materials For Edging To Keep The Mulch in Place

In addition to barriers, using different materials for edging (e.g., concrete pavers and rolls of plastics, etc) to keep the mulch in place can also effectively help in preventing mulch from washing away. 

Concrete Pavers:

You can use concrete pavers as edging to keep the mulch in place in your garden. They are easy to install as well. 

Just make sure that if you’re planning to install concrete pavers, you first level the whole area out where these are going to be placed.

Several styles of concrete pavers are available in the market in different sizes and shapes. So, it just depends on your preference. They can give a nice texture to the garden.

Rolls of Plastic:

Rolls of plastic can also be used as edging material to keep the mulch in its place. You can contour the rolls of plastic in a variety of shapes a lot easier than the concrete pavers. 

The best thing about plastic rolls is that they are pretty easy to maintain compared to concrete pavers. 

5. Use Heavier Mulch

Mulch erosion can also be prevented by using heavier mulch in your garden. One of the best ways to keep the mulch in its place is to use a mulch heavier in weight. 

Heavier mulch will be difficult to wash away. Stone and fresh wood chip mulches can be your ideal pick if you live in a rainy area.

Sand and rocks could also be used as mulch which has its own great benefits when it comes to soil preservation.
You can see the detailed article I wrote on the benefits of using sand as mulch here.

6. Improve Drainage Around The Plants and Mulched Areas

Another effective way to prevent mulch erosion is to improve drainage around the plants and mulch area. 

The drainage system installed in the gardens plays a vital role in removing the excess water from it. 

If the drainage system around the garden edges is good, there is very little chance of mulch being washed away when it rains. 

You can install drainage pipes along the edges of your garden to have a good drainage system for the extra water to move out.

How To Recover Eroded Mulch?

Mulches are quite expensive and, therefore, you cannot simply just let them wash away with the water.

However, unfortunately, if your mulch has already been eroded and the soil is exposed, it can lead to many dangers for plants growing in an area with a lot of rain. 

Redirect Water Flow To a Catchment To Recover Eroded Mulch

Recovering the eroded mulch can help you to save your money and plant as well. 

Different ways to recover the eroded mulch are being used by gardeners and one of them is redirecting the water flow to a catchment. 

With this, you can easily redirect the flow of the drainage pipes added in your garden to a catchment. 

And this best part is: in a catchment, you can also store the washed mulch and reused it later.

prevent mulch from washing away

Lighter Mulch Will Wash Away Faster:

The weight of the mulch that you are using in your garden is very important. Keep in mind the topographic location of your garden before selecting the mulch type. 

Remember that if the planting beds are present on slopes then the lighter mulch will wash away much faster than the heavier mulch. 

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you do not use mulches that are lighter in weight if you live in a rainy area. Lightweight mulches cannot sustain the speed of the water running through the garden during heavy rain. 

Use Heavier Mulch Options

There are a variety of heavier mulch options available in the market. You can select according to the requirements of your garden. 

If you don’t want to remove the older mulch from your garden that’s ok. You can add the new mulch above the older mulch or even mix it within the soil to increase the organic matter within the soil.
See a detailed article that I have written on how to do so.

Heavier mulch will retain the rainwater much better than lighter mulch. Below, we have compiled a list of heavier mulches available in the markets that you can use in your garden to stop mulch erosion:

Pebbles or Rocks:

The weight of the Pebbles and rocks makes them a great option for heavier mulches. 

They don’t easily decompose into the soil, making them a one-time investment for the gardens. With this heavy mulch, you can also decorate your garden. 

Pebble or rock mulch will protect your plants and as well as add vibrance to your garden.

Furthermore, pebbles and rocks will not store the water in them so there is no need to worry that plant roots will get extra water from mulch. 

Large Wood Chips:

Large wood chips are quite heavier than many other mulches and can work best to stop mulch erosion. 

These are good for your plants as well because they can absorb more water than any other mulch. 

The stored moisture in the wood chips will help the plant to meet the water requirements. Water stored in the wood chips will help to cool the soil on hotter days as well.

Using Wood as Fences:

One of the best options to keep mulch in place would be wood. There are a lot of different options and shapes. It just depends on what your preferences are. 

You can dig down your trench around shovels. You can dig down to the depths you want but make sure there is at least a little bit of an edge still sticking up, at least half an inch to an inch. 

This option just takes a little bit longer to install than others. Wood is great for straight lines but if you have slow turns in your garden then this is not the material probably for you to use. 

The Takeaway

Mulch plays an important part in our gardens in holding moisture within the soil while preventing erosion.

However, that same mulch can also be eroded very easily if the appropriate measures aren’t put in place.

Mulch barriers do great in preventing rain and water erosion. Preventing slopes and diverting drainage so that running water does not come into contact with the mulch are also great ways of preventing loss.

The best method that i have found is by applying a mulch lock which binds the particulates together holding it in place limiting both wind and water erosion.

JayLea

JayLea has a passion for plants and has been gardening since 2015. He has valuable knowledge about gardening and houseplant care and can answer everyday practical questions that every plant owner has.

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