Mulch adds a finished, woodland-like quality to the garden, but that's not the only reason to spread organic matter on the soil surface. A layer of mulch conserves soil moisture, moderates soil temperature, and inhibits weeds, says Missy Gable, director of the UC Master Gardener Program, in the latest episode of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' six-part home landscape water conservation video series.
Gable recommends the soil in home landscapes be covered with two to four inches of a fine- to medium-shred bark mulch. The mulch should not be applied too close to the bases of the plants so they won't be susceptible to rot.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
The Las Conchas fire that recently consumed nearly 137,000 acres in Los Alamos, N.M., serves as a reminder of how quickly fire can move if given fuel. I can’t light a barbecue with matches and lighter fluid, but a small ember drifting on the wind can find so many ways to burn down people’s homes if given the right conditions.
Removal of vegetation near Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is part of the UC system, created a buffer and helped spare the lab from the Las Conchas fire, which came within 50 feet. Creating a buffer is one of many preventive measures that can be taken to protect property from wildfires.
In a wildfire-prone area, even if you have a house with a concrete tile roof and noncombustible siding, an...