Mulch Matters | Virtual Rain Garden 14 of 17 | Clemson Extension

After the plants are installed, the rain garden
needs mulch. Mulch is an important feature of a rain garden for a number of reasons: Mulch helps retain moisture in times of drought,
keeping plants healthy Mulch also provides protection to plant roots
from the heat in summer months and cold in winter months.
Mulch provides cover to the soil, keeping a healthy balance of microbes in the soil
that will help to break down pollutants that may accumulate in a rain garden.
Mulch serves as a weed barrier, helping to keep out unwanted plant species. For the purposes of a rain garden, pine straw
or pine bark should not be used. This is because as the rain garden fills up with water, pine
bark and pine straw will float away. Hardwood mulch, in particular cedar mulch is recommended.
Cedar mulch will float much less than other materials, especially if you can find double
and triple shredded which will have less surface area and therefore, less ability to float.
You should avoid using cypress mulch when possible as it contributes to harvesting of
the Bald Cypress, the cornerstone of our majestic cypress tupelo swamps. The mulch layer should be 3 to 4 inches thick.
Remember to pull the mulch away from plant stems by a few inches to allow for plant growth
and health. You will likely need to spruce up your rain garden by replacing or adding
mulch one to two times a year depending on conditions

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