Effect of landscape mulches on desert landscape microclimates

Catherine K. Singer, Chris Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Effects of three landscape mulches: 1) composted ponderosa pine residue; 2) uncomposted shredded landscape tree trimmings; and 3) screened decomposing granite, were compared over the course of 2 years (2004 to 2005) for their ability to modify air and soil landscape microclimates in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. Temperatures at the surface of the two organic mulches were generally higher during the day and lower at night than at the surface of either decomposing granite or soil without a mulch cover. During nighttime hours, decomposing granite mulch or soil without a mulch cover emitted more long wave radiation than the two organic mulches. Conductive heat transfer through the organic mulches was generally lower than through decomposing granite. Daytime temperatures of soil at 5 and 30 cm (2 and 12 in) depths were generally lower beneath the two organic mulches than under decomposing granite mulch or soil without any landscape mulch cover. Soil covered with organic mulch evaporated less water than soil without mulch. Under desert conditions, the two organic mulches were more effective at moderating heat gain and water loss from soil than decomposing granite mulch because of an increased resistance to heat transfer and evaporation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)230-237
Number of pages8
JournalArboriculture and Urban Forestry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2008


  • Soil heat flux
  • Soil water evaporation
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Ecology


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