Coir fiber comes from inside the coconut shell and is a natural byproduct. 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.
Coir mulch has other advantages such as the ability to hold water but at the same time drains very well. Coir mulch also helps to moderate moisture levels and soil temperatures. Cutting temperature fluctuation in half.
Like any good mulch material, coir helps to control weeds and can last up to three years, a lot longer than mulch from newspaper, straw or grass clippings. When the coir material starts biodegrading, it adds organic matter into the soil. Some coir even contain beneficial fungi that helps control disease organisms that could infect your plants. The coarse texture of coir can also discourage slugs and snails.
Another fantastic benefit to using coir mulch is it reduces the need for watering by as much as 50%, which is an important consideration in drought-prone areas.
One of the biggest benefits of coir mulch is its light in weight. Coir mulch comes in tightly packed, lightweight blocks, which expands 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.
Using coir mulch, most gardeners like to mulch their garden beds with coir two to three inches thick, starting when the soil warms up in spring. You can also add it into your potting mix at a rate of three parts coir mulch and one part soil.
This product has made a big splash onto the garden scene as gardeners are looking 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.