How Can Mulching Reduce Soil Salinity in Dryland?

Arid region

How Can Mulching Reduce Soil Salinity in Dryland?

Salinity i.e. the presence of salt in the soil, has a direct impact on the growth and development of garden plants. An ideal saline condition favors both plant health and growth. On the flip side, an unusual increase or decrease in salinity level can slow down plant growth or stop it completely! But in arid regions, the salinity remains high by nature. So, how to reduce the soil salinity if you’re in drylands?

Well, in this article, we discussed how you can control the level of salinity in your garden through mulching! You know what is mulching, right?

If you are not much aware, can read first about Mulching & its importance.

Mulching is just an amazing natural way to control salinity effectively. So, let’s not delay any more. I am gonna tell you about different types of mulches, their importance, and functions in detail here. 

Mulching trees

Why is controlling soil salinity levels necessary?

The soil that we, the gardeners, use in our garden, need to bear a specific amount of salts and minerals. In soil, there are particular amounts of solution properties, where different types of salts and minerals are included. 

Salinity is actually the concentration of soluble salts in the soil. Proper saline condition serves an essential role in the water and nutrients uptake process. 

But as soon as salinity increases, it starts affecting a plant in all possible negative ways. You may feel sad to know that  

  • excessive salinity levels can affect your plant’s ability to absorb water, ultimately leading to drought-like conditions. 
  • can also damage the roots of plants and reduce their ability to take up essential nutrients.

So, you can see how urgent it is to maintain proper salinity levels in your garden! This maintenance will ensure healthy plant growth and result in maximum crop yields.

Global areas under soil salinity
Global areas under soil salinity


5 Effects of Mulching to Reduce soil salinity

The biggest help of mulching is to regulate soil salinity levels. This is done by reducing water loss through evaporation. Well, the other important roles of mulches are given below: 

  • Mulch works like a protective layer over the soil. As a result, sunlight can not directly reach the soil and slow down the rate of water loss. 
  • Mulch keeps the soil moist and thus helps prevent the production of salt in the soil. 
  • Mulch helps to prevent erosion effectively. 
  • Mulches add valuable organic matter to the soil after decomposition.
Mulching plants with straw


Types of Mulches for Reducing Soil Salinity Levels

There are several types of mulches offering amazing functions. You can use any of them to control salinity levels in your garden. So let’s go down and get to know them! 

  1. Organic Mulches

Organic mulches are an excellent choice because they will not only control salinity levels but also increase nutrients in your garden plants! You can easily prepare organic mulches from natural materials, such as leaves, straws, grass clippings, and wood chips. The functions of organic mulches can be divided into 3 main categories: 

  • Regulate the salinity level of your garden plants significantly.
  • These mulches break down over time and add valuable organic matter to the soil. 
  • Organic mulches help retain moisture and nutrients in the soil.
Organic Mulches are applying
Organic Mulches are applying
  1. Inorganic Mulches

If you are concerned about erosion, then inorganic mulch is your option. Inorganic mulches are basically made of materials like rocks, gravel, and pebbles. Let me tell you the function of inorganic mulches for your garden plants:

  • These mulches do not decompose and help prevent erosion
  • Inorganic mulches control salinity levels by reducing water loss through evaporation. 
  • They prevent direct sunlight from reaching the soil. Thus soil gets a protective layer! 
stone mulching in plants
Inorganic stone mulches
  1. Synthetic Mulches

Keep in mind that synthetic mulches are less efficient in controlling salinity levels than organic and inorganic mulches. Still, they help to control to some extent. Synthetic mulches are made of materials like black plastic and landscape fabric. Well, the special function of these mulches is to control weeds and moisture levels in the soil. 


Choosing the Right Mulch for your garden

All of the three mulches discussed above are able to control salinity levels. But you need to choose among them according to the specific demand for your garden plants. Knowing the following points will help you to choose the right mulch perfectly: 

  • If you want to provide valuable nutrients to the soil and help retain moisture, then organic mulches are the best choice for you. 
  • If you have a garden with high erosion rates, then please choose the inorganic mulches. 
  • Pick up the synthetic mulches if weed control is a concern for you.
Organic mulch- the best option to reduce soil salinity
Organic mulch- the best option to reduce soil salinity


How to Apply Mulch in your garden?

After choosing the right type of mulch, you need to apply them to your garden. So now, I’m going to describe the easiest procedure  that I follow for applying mulch in my garden:

  • To apply mulch, start by removing any weeds or debris from the soil surface.
  • Next, spread a layer of mulch over the soil and make sure to cover the entire area. 
  • The mulch layer should be about 2-3 inches thick. 
  • You need to leave a small gap around the base of plants to prevent rotting.

 In this way, you can easily apply mulches in your garden and control salinity levels!

mulched flower
Mulched flower



An optimum salinity level is a prerequisite if you dream of a healthy and productive plant garden. So if you feel that your plants are facing severe health issues, then excess salinity may be the reason! If yes, go for mulching. Choose the right type of mulch and apply it correctly. All the best for your healthy and smiley garden plants! 

Saifun Nahar Smriti

Hello, I'm Saifun Nahar Smriti, deeply passionate about plant science and biotechnology. I explore the wonders of nature's green world and the innovative possibilities of biotech. The mysteries of plants and the exciting potential of biotechnology is thrilling to me. Welcome to my world of discovery!