|Mulch Type||Best used for||Not recommended for||
Possible Problems with
|Sources of||Life of Mulch|
|Lawn clippings, Straw, or Hay||compost pile for vegetable garden||any plantings other than vegetable, it kills natives||many weeds (e.g.,,bind weed, mustard, bermuda grass), plant diseases||many||3 months|
|Manure||Vegetable garden||Any other plantings, it kills natives||Salt burn||Any Garden center||1-3 months|
|'Green waste'||Conventional flower beds||interface areas, native plantings, conifers ,desert plants||weed seeds, shrub and tree seeds||Recycling programs||1-3 years|
|Arborist's chippings of pine, oak or natives||native or drought tolerant type plantings and conifers||conventional flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, desert plants||few but some tree and shrub seeds||
|Fir bark, Pine bark, Redwood bark||conifers, most native prefer redwood, most others Ok||
conventional flowerbeds, vegetable gardens, desert plants
|floats and moves off of site, doesn't provide full groundcover so more weeds present||Bulk distributors, Garden centers||7-10 years|
|Shredded redwood bark
(Shredded cedar is similar)
|the best mulch (when combined with boulders) for coastal and sierra natives||desert plants, conventional gardens||no known negative impacts||Bulk distributors||7-10 years|
|Boulders, rock||Desert plants or combined with other mulch||areas next to lawn or parking lots (Ok if too large to easily move)||vandalism||bulk distributors, some General Engineering contractors||20+|
|Lawns, walkways, parking lots, river bottoms, marshes||most native or drought tolerant sites||topsoil loss, erosion||N/A||generally covered with weeds in a few months|
|Plastic||Lawn furniture||plants||shreds, doesn't work, kills the plants||'home' stores, 'restoration' suppliers||1-3 years, replaced by weeds|
Ok we've given you these basics now make a table with the square footage of the target as the minimum total. Feed in every native perennial/shrub/tree that is present on the site or on nearby sites that represent your site. Do not feed into the table Baccharis, Senecio, Ericameria, Lotus or whatever other pioneer is on the site until your numbers are above 60% area coverage (accounting for possible losses). The table should represent your 'dream' species list of a permanent planting. The more species you can include the better. After you've figured out your plant list, add a full overlay of bush Baccharis or whatever start up plant is native in the area. Most of the coastal areas of California prefer Baccharis.
Here's an example for a little creek bank. The native cover target is about 60-70%, with the Baccharis added we project 130% coverage with a 30% loss, that is canopy closure. Actual area was about 600 sq. ft.
|Quantity||Genus/species||Common Name||Projected width (in ft.) of one plant after3 years||Projected area (in sq. ft.) covered by one plant||Total area (in sq. ft)covered by the listed quantity of plants||Total coverage with 30% loss
||Artemisia californica||California Sage Brush||3
||Baccharis pilularis consanguinea||Coyote Brush||6
||Juncus textilis||Basket Rush||2
||Psoralea (Hoita)macrostachya||Leather Root||3
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Vitousek, Peter, John Aber, Robert Howarth, Gene Likens, Pamela Matson, David Schindler, William Schlesinger, and David Tilman.1997. Human Alteration of Global Nitrogen Cycle: Sources and Consequences. 7(3), pp.737-750
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Wilson, Bert and Celeste. 1997.Vegetation Mitigation Annual Report, California Spaceport. Vandenberg Air Force Base, California
Please feel free to copy and distribute!
September 1997, updated 2001
REMEMBER, the only place you'll find a hole with "amendments" in it, lots of water, and plastic around it is in the camp latrine!"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein