For Landscape Professionals

Sheet mulching is a straightforward, cost-effective way to convert water-thirsty turf to planting adapted to California's summer dry climate. Sheet mulch can be used to convert turf areas of any size and creates healthy, drought-tolerant soils in the process.

Sheet mulching is basically a layered mulching system, placed on top of an existing lawn (green or brown). Recycled cardboard is placed on the existing turf, followed by a layer of compost, and finally a layer of mulch. Large plant material (5-gallon and up) is planted before sheet mulching, but 1-gallon and smaller materials can be planted through the sheet mulch. The smallest plants (4-inch pots and under) can be planted without even cutting the cardboard, saving time and money.

Converting lawns with sheet mulching offers remarkable environmental, economic and societal benefits, including:

  • 50% water savings
  • 30–70% maintenance labor savings
  • 70–80% reduced runoff
  • 53 tons/acre greenhouse gas reduction, equal to taking about 10 passenger cars off the road

In addition, compared to ripping out sod or using an herbicide, every acre of turf that is sheet mulched:

  • keeps 87 tons of sod out of the landfill, and
  • prevents the use of up to 10 lbs. of herbicides. 

Learn more about the benefits of sheet mulching: download our When in Drought... Sheet Mulch It! flyer.