Growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area. With a wiener dog.

June 1, 2015

Using mulch to conserve water in your garden

It's the first of June and, as usual, it's heating up fast here in the Phoenix, Arizona area. I've been fiddling around with this area of the garden this morning, which I call the Aloe Garden (although there are agaves, sansevierias, and cycads there) and added a little bit more potting soil and then covered it up with mulch. The mulch, by the way, is supplied free to me courtesy of the olive tree.

Next to shade, mulch is the most important thing to have in your garden to conserve water. Whatever you use, bags of chipped up wood from Home Depot, or just, like me, the leaves from your tree, just do it. It not only helps conserve water, but it helps to keep the plants, and their roots cooler. Not cool, it's over 100 degrees out there! But cooler.

Worx rechargeable blower. Very light, and no cord, for blowing leaves off the artificial turf, and into the garden for mulch.
I use a small rechargeable electric blower and I blow the leaves off of the artificial turf up into the garden. The leaves from the olive tree fall continuously, year 'round, so the garden just naturally stays mulched. I've seen people who have designed their garden so poorly that they feel the need to *vacuum* up that precious mulch that their trees provide! What a shame that is! I have been getting free mulch here at The Tropical Paradise for over twenty years, and shade, too, from the tree.

Cycads. In front - Zamia, behind it and to the right - Dioon Spinulosum. In the back are pygmy date palms. In a shady area with plenty of mulch!

Every once in a while I'll take a small outdoor broom brush and tidy up the edges, but mostly I leave it alone. A few stray leaves gives a more natural look to artificial turf, as opposed to looking messy on patios, concrete, etc.

Brad draws custom cartoon illustrations for publications, blogs, presentations, anything you want. You can contact him at his website

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