Coir fiber comes from inside the coconut shell and is a natural byproduct of the processing of coconuts. The coarse, strong fiber is used to make rope, floor mats, brushes, mattresses, and, for the past 20 years, landscape mulch.
Coir is an outstanding substitute for cypress mulch or peat moss because: (1) it is a renewal resource, unlike peat and cypress; (2) its harvest does not cause environmental damage, as does peat mining; and (3) it does not contain disease organisms that can be transmitted to plants.
More Advantages of Coir Mulch
Coir mulch has other advantages. Because it both holds water and drains well, coir mulch helps moderate moistures levels in the garden. It also moderates soil temperature, cutting temperature fluctuation in half. Like any good mulch material, coir helps control weeds, but it lasts up to three years, a lot longer than mulch from newspaper, straw, or grass clippings.
When it does biodegrade, coir adds organic matter to the soil.
Some coir even contains beneficial fungi that help control disease organisms that could infect plants. The coarse texture of coir may deter slugs and snails.
Coir mulch reduces the need for watering by as much as 50 percent, an important consideration in drought-prone areas of the country.
One of the biggest benefits of coir mulch is its light weight. Coir mulch comes in tightly packed, lightweight blocks, which expand when exposed to water. Less than ten pounds of coir expands into two cubic feet of mulch, which can cover twelve square feet at a depth of two inches.
It’s also quite attractive, and its rich brown color doesn’t fade.
Using Coir Mulch
Gardeners mulch their garden beds with coir two to three inches thick, starting when the soil warms up in the spring. They also add it to potting mix at the rate of three parts hydrated coir mulch to one part soil. Coir also makes a good-looking topping on planters, with the added advantage of reducing the need for watering.
Some gardeners use it as an amendment to improve compost and garden soil. It’s also proven itself as an excellent fungus-resistant medium for rooting cuttings.
More About Coir Mulch
Coir mulch is organic, biodegradable, renewal, and nice looking. It’s made a big splash on the garden scene as gardeners look for more ways to be sensitive to the environment. You can do your part to protect limited resources by substituting coir for other materials and recommending coir mulch to fellow gardeners.
Want to know more about Coir Mulch?
If you want to know more about coir mulch, read what other gardeners have to say about it on these blogs.
Where to buy Coir Mulch: Clean Air Gardening has a great selection of coir mulch available.
Village Garden Web has great and useful information about coir.
Shelterrific shows the coir mulch block in action.
GreenUpGrader has a great story about coir as an alternative to peat moss.