How To Keep Mulch From Blowing Away? Tips For Windy Areas

The practice of mulching provides your lawn and garden beds with protection, additional water retention, and a host of other benefits. However, for your lawn or plants to get maximum benefits, you must ensure the mulch stays in place…which isn’t always easy.

To keep mulch from blowing away there are some simple rules to keep in mind. Watching slopes, irrigation, mulch type, and the friction inherent in the surface it is on all can hold it in place even during strong winds. Staking, fencing, and netting are also extra measures.

The weather is the number one threat to your mulching efforts. Mulch is particularly susceptible to being blown away by the wind, a common headache for any gardener or flower bed enthusiast. Luckily, we’ve got a few quick tips to help you handle this problem.  


How To Keep Mulch From Blowing Out Of Beds And Gardens

Most seasoned gardeners will tell you that you can keep your mulch in place by:

  • Choosing the best type of mulch for your needs
  • Not using landscape fabric on inclines
  • Using landscape fabric instead of plastic
  • Flattening your mulch surfaces
  • Edging your beds or lawn with rocks or organic garden borders
  • Trenching around the garden bed to catch mulch if it’s blown away
  • Planting ground cover plants to hold mulch in place

Generally speaking, your choice of mulch will determine the best way to keep it in place. Heavier mulch will have a better chance of staying in place than light mulch. Grainy mulches also tend to be harder to shift than solid mulches.

One of my favorite mulch types as a stand alone or accent cover is Pine Straw Mulch. You can get some and check prices at this link on Amazon.

Landscape Fabrics and Slopes Equal Ever Moving Mulch

Landscaping fabric is commonly used as an herbicide-free way to control the growth of weeds. This fabric also helps the soil retain moisture while minimizing the risk of erosion. However, landscaping fabric doesn’t always have the grippiest surface, which increases the chances of mulch slipping off.

Mulch will also be shifted easily on uneven ground. To avoid problems, try to flatten your work surface as much as possible. If you are working on a slope, we recommend that you create stepped garden beds to keep your mulch in position.

The combination of landscape fabric and a slope is a recipe for disaster.

Edging Can Stop Blowing Mulch

Edging and trenching are other common ways of protecting your mulch layer. You can edge your garden beds or lawn with rocks, bricks, or even mesh wire fencing. Organic edges, which are made up of tightly knit plants can also form a barrier that keeps your mulch in place. Mondo grass is a great choice for an organic edge.

Trenching, on the other hand, allows you to collect and re-apply mulch if it is blown away. Digging a trench around the mulch will save you from having to get new mulch since most of it will fall into the trench.

Ground Cover Is A Landscapers Secret To Securing Mulch

Another way to keep your mulch in place is to grow groundcover plants such as Sweet Woodruff and Wild Thyme. These plants are very absorptive, which regulates soil moisture and, ultimately, mulch-threatening erosion. You can also get creative and use groundcover plants as a windbreaker to keep the mulch in place in the face of winds.

While the wind is the main element to worry about, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with other threats to your mulch.

Other Mulch Movers

The rain is another potential problem that, if unchecked, could wash your mulch away from its position. Keep this in mind if you live in an area prone to heavy rainfall and plan accordingly.

Another related issues is drainage waterflow that could run through your mulch bad. Downspouts from gutters and other drainage may not seem to be a problem in light rain or sun, but when a downpour happens you could lose significant portions of bed mulch.

As for lawn mulch (ie. grass clippings) especially, foot traffic is always a concern. The constant back and forth will unsettle the mulch and stifle the grass below. Minimizing foot traffic is the best approach to keep your mulch in place. Create designated footpaths or install barricades to prevent people from walking all over your mulched lawn.

Read more of my articles on this and other subjects here…

How To Keep Leaf Mulch From Blowing Away

Leaf mulch is a great choice for some gardens and even lawns because leaves have nutritional benefits and they are easy to source. Due to the acidic nature of leaves and the coverage of full leaves, proper mulching and amounts should be monitored.

Keeping leaf mulch in a lawn entails proper chopped leaf size to ensure wind gusts can’t take advantage of the lift full leaves afford. Leaf mulch in a flower bed or garden can be solved in the same way, but additional edging and fencing can give an added measure of protection.

However, as you know, dead leaves can be blown away by the wind very easily. This is an all-too-common problem that can be extremely frustrating.

Luckily, there are several ways of protecting leaf mulch. 

If your mulch is on a garden bed, you can install a mesh wire fence, or any other edging method, to catch the leaves if they are ever blown out of position. You can also place mesh wire horizontally on top of the leaves to hold them down.

The chunky nature of dead leaves is what makes them easy to shift. That’s why it’s a good idea to shred the leaves before laying them down as mulch. You can also wet the shreds to add a bit more weight to them.

How To Keep Rubber Mulch From Blowing Away

Rubber mulch is an inorganic form of mulch that has protective qualities. Despite its lack of nutritional benefits, many people opt for it because it is relatively low maintenance and durable. There is also the added benefit of many colors and textures to choose from.

The good thing with rubber mulch is that it’s not as susceptible to the elements as leaves. Edging is the best way to keep the mulch in place neatly.

How To Keep Straw Mulch From Blowing Away

Straw is another popular organic mulch, especially for garden beds. Compared to leaf mulch, straw is not as vulnerable to wind, but its loose nature still makes it quite easy to shift.

We recommend that you press the straw down towards the soil to help keep it in place. This can be done using the back of a shovel or a garden roller. You can also use the horizontal mesh wire approach we discussed for leaf mulch. Edging is not as necessary, but it can be done for the sake of neatness.

One of the most popular versions of straw mulch is pine straw. These are mounds of long pine needles and are extremely effective at keeping down weeds.

What Is The Best Mulch For Windy Areas?

If your garden is exposed to frequent and unpredictable winds, you might want to opt for heavier forms of mulch.

Pine bark is a great choice if you insist on an organic mulch. This form of mulch is often ground down so it releases nutrients into the soil at a quicker rate.

However, the bits of bark are still much more difficult to move than leaves or straw, which makes them the best organic mulch for windy areas. You may have to incorporate edging or trenches to be on the safe side.

As far as inorganic mulches, you won’t go wrong with stone or rubber mulches. These forms of mulch, combined with the protective measures we’ve discussed, can be almost immovable. Even if some freak weather occurrence does shift them, they can be gathered and reapplied much more easily than most organic mulches.

What Is The Heaviest Mulch?

The heaviest and, ultimately, most wind-proof mulch is stone mulch. There are many colors, sizes, and types of this mulch and can fit the exterior décor of most any home.

Another added benefit for those in areas that are warmer, the stones become hot and keep down some types of grasses and weeds from flower beds.

For those not opposed to using chemical weed killers, stone makes it much easier to spray in areas around wanted plants.

The Final Touches On How To Keep Mulch From Blowing Away

There are several factors and techniques that can keep your mulch in place. The use of the proper type of much, the proper choice of terrain, the correct landscaping fabric, and the proper edging and trenching can all help the issue.

Just remember that wind added with inclines and landscaping fabric usually spell disaster. We have found that stakes, netting under the mulch, and terracing the slope all can help.

I recommend you read these other articles I have on this site…


Mathew Booe

Mathew has worked in landscaping professionally for over 10 years. He is a grandpa and frequently interviews other experienced landscapers and lawn care experts who are also grandpas for these articles.

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