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1. Use Mulch and Compost to Create Healthy Soil

Cover soil with 3-4 inches of mulch. Amend soil with 1" of organic compost at planting time.

Certification Requirement

  • Exposed soil on site is protected with a minimum of 3 inches of locally recycled, greenwaste mulch.
  • For new landscape construction: Compost is incorporated at an application rate of 1 inch, or 4 cubic yards per 1,000 ft2. If the imported or site soil has an organic content of 6% or more, then the compost requirement is waived.

Note: Small, open, mulch-free areas are exempt from the requirement if they are designated for native bee or insect habitat.


• 4-6” of mulch with barrier (not synthetic landscape fabric) is recommended for sparse plantings and open areas.

• Plant material identified for removal can be chipped and used on site as mulch, on-site storage space permitting.

• Purchase compost from a producer who participates in the U.S. Composting Council’s Standard Testing Assurance (STA) program to ensure quality. A list of participating producers can be found at www.compostingcouncil.org

• Make your own compost! Check with your waste hauler to inquire about subsidized compost bin programs.

Helpful Resources

Organic Materials Exchange: Find free and low cost mulch from tree-trimming companies and composted horse manure by entering your zip code.

On-line Mulch Calculator: Determine how much mulch you will need to purchase by entering the square feet of landscaped area and mulch depth.

Home Advisor Guide to Composting: Resources for Home Composting

• Bay-Friendly Guide to Mulch, available at www.BayFriendly.org. Provides sources of recycled mulch, applications of mulch and information on sheet mulching.

Where to buy compost and mulch in Santa Cruz County

Vision Recycling

Buena Vista Landfill, 1231 Buena Vista Drive, Watsonville

Ben Lomond Transfer Station, 9835 Newell Creek Road, Ben Lomond

Aptos Landscape Supply

5035 Freedom Blvd, Aptos, (831) 688-6211

Central Home Supply

Santa Cruz - 808 River Street, (831) 423-0763

Scotts Valley - 180 East Pueblo Road, (831) 440-0763

Coast Paper & Supply Inc. (rolls of recycled cardboard for sheet mulching)

151 Josephine Street, Santa Cruz, (831) 423-3350

Where to buy compost and mulch in Monterey County

Monterey Regional Waste Management District

Monterey Peninsula Landfill, 14201 Del Monte Blvd., Marina

Vision Recycling

Sun Street Transfer Station, 139 Sun Street, Salinas

Johnson Canyon Landfill, 31400 Johnson Canyon Road, Gonzales

Tri-County Landscape Supply

71 Elkhorn Road, Royal Oaks, CA 95076 (831) 728-0111

Keith Day Company/Gabilan Ag Services

1091 Madison Lane, Salinas, CA 93907 (831) 771-0126

Bokay Nursery

30 Hitchcock Road, Salinas, CA 93908 (831) 455-1868

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