UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA
University of California
UC Master Gardeners, Santa Clara County, CA

Monthly Tip

Soil Management - Compost vs Mulch

Tip description

Many home gardeners are confused about the terms “compost” and “mulch;” frequently these terms are used interchangeably, but they are not really the same thing. Here is a Comparison of Soil and Mulch from UCCE.

Amend soil with compost to create soil that will retain water but still drain well enough for roots to have the air and water they need.

Benefits of compost
- Forms aggregate particles with clay
- Creates larger pore spaces for water & air
- Helps release nutrients from clay so that plant roots can absorb them
- Supports the soil foodweb by providing nutrients for the organisms
- Lowers pH somewhat.

Benefits of mulch
Mulch does not get worked into the soil. It sits on top of your irrigation system and helps:

- Control weeds
- Prevent erosion
- Preserve soil moisture
- Keep roots cool and moist

Months applicable
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • Any month
  • 1. To-do

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