Biodegradable mulch is a type of mulch that is designed to break down naturally over time, leaving no harmful residue behind. It is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional plastic mulch, which can take hundreds of years to decompose. Biodegradable mulch is made from organic materials such as plant fibers, cornstarch, or paper, and it offers a range of benefits for both gardeners and the environment.

Benefits of Biodegradable Mulch

1. Environmental Sustainability: One of the key advantages of biodegradable mulch is its positive impact on the environment. Unlike plastic mulch, which can contribute to pollution and waste, biodegradable mulch breaks down naturally and does not leave behind harmful residues. This helps to reduce the amount of plastic waste in landfills and oceans, making it a more sustainable choice for gardeners.

2. Soil Health: Biodegradable mulch can improve soil health by retaining moisture, regulating temperature, and preventing weed growth. It acts as a barrier between the soil and the external environment, reducing evaporation and keeping the soil moist for longer periods. This helps to promote healthy plant growth and reduce the need for excessive watering.

3. Weed Control: Biodegradable mulch can effectively suppress weed growth, reducing the need for manual weeding or the use of chemical herbicides. The mulch creates a physical barrier that prevents sunlight from reaching weed seeds, inhibiting their germination and growth. This not only saves time and effort for gardeners but also promotes a healthier and more natural gardening environment.

4. Nutrient Retention: Biodegradable mulch can help to retain nutrients in the soil by preventing them from being washed away by rain or irrigation. The mulch acts as a protective layer, reducing soil erosion and allowing plants to access the necessary nutrients for optimal growth. This can result in healthier plants with higher yields.

Types of Biodegradable Mulch

1. Plant Fiber Mulch: This type of biodegradable mulch is made from natural plant fibers, such as straw, hay, or coconut coir. It is commonly used in vegetable gardens and flower beds. Plant fiber mulch is lightweight, easy to apply, and breaks down relatively quickly, enriching the soil with organic matter.

2. Cornstarch Mulch: Cornstarch mulch is made from biodegradable materials derived from corn, such as cornstarch or corn gluten meal. It is often used in organic gardening and is known for its weed-suppressing properties. Cornstarch mulch breaks down slowly, providing long-lasting weed control and soil improvement.

3. Paper Mulch: Paper mulch is made from recycled paper products, such as newspapers or cardboard. It is an affordable and readily available option for gardeners. Paper mulch breaks down gradually, adding organic matter to the soil and improving its structure. It is particularly effective in suppressing weeds and conserving moisture.

How to Use Biodegradable Mulch

1. Preparation: Before applying biodegradable mulch, prepare the soil by removing any existing weeds or debris. Ensure that the soil is well-watered and free from clumps or large stones.

2. Application: Spread a layer of biodegradable mulch evenly over the soil surface, ensuring that it covers the entire planting area. The mulch should be around 2-3 inches thick for optimal weed control and moisture retention.

3. Planting: Make small holes or slits in the mulch to accommodate the plants. Gently plant the seedlings or seeds in the prepared holes, taking care not to disturb the mulch layer.

4. Maintenance: Regularly monitor the moisture levels in the soil and water as needed. Inspect the mulch for any signs of degradation or weed growth and remove or replace as necessary. As the mulch breaks down, it can be incorporated into the soil to further enrich its organic content.


Biodegradable mulch offers numerous benefits for gardeners and the environment. It is a sustainable alternative to plastic mulch, promoting soil health, weed control, and nutrient retention. By choosing biodegradable mulch, gardeners can contribute to reducing plastic waste and creating a healthier and more sustainable gardening environment.