Stop Mulch from Washing Away
How to keep your mulch from washing away in the rain? Jean Nawada shares a few ideas
We’ve had more than the usual amount of rain this year, and all the mulch has been washed out of our garden, which has a slight slope. Is there something I can put on the mulch to keep it in place? —Lynn Stefano, Arnold, MO
I don’t know of any such product. But you can reduce the chance of another mulch slide by capturing and redirecting—or at least slowing down—the flow of surface water where it’s most concentrated. For instance, if the water is coming out of a downspout, then connect it to a dry well, which collects the runoff and lets it percolate into the ground.
If the water isn’t coming from a point source, then catch it with a curtain drain, like the one shown here. Dig a trench perpendicular to the slope about 18 inches deep, line it with 6-foot-wide landscape fabric, and fill it halfway with crushed stone. Place a perforated 4-inch drainpipe on the stone; pitch it at 1⁄8 inch per foot. That’s half the standard 1⁄4-inch-per-foot pitch for drains because you want water to drain away slowly. Orient the holes to face up the slope.
Cover the pipe with more crushed stone, then swaddle it.
Jennifer Nawada owns Nawada Landscape Design in Boston. She appears regularly on TV episodes of Ask - saboteamos.info.