Examining performances of organic and inorganic mulches and cover plants for sustainable green space development in arid cities

Document Type: Research Paper


Faculty of Agriculture, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


Green space is one of the important infrastructures for keeping natural life and sustainability in modern urbanism and it provides excellent recreational opportunities for the people in the society. However, there are limiting factors in green space development, especially in arid regions, including extreme weather and soil temperatures, low average rainfall, drought, and high potential for evapotranspiration. Therefore, sustainable green space development, especially in these regions, should seek strategies and landscape materials to tackle these limitations. Some green space materials, which have been argued to address such limitations, are mulches; but still potentials of these materials in urban green space development have not been well discussed. This study reviewed scientific literature in order to discuss how non-living mulches and cover plants as living mulches can assist in the development of green spaces in arid regions. It aimed to introduce mulches and cover plants and compare their environmental, ecological, functional, and aesthetic potentials. According to the results, cover plants and non-living mulches can maintain visual aesthetics while they can also have environmental benefits, such as reducing water consumption, weeds and soil erosion as well as adjusting soil moisture and temperature in urban green spaces. High diversity of cover plants is one of the most important and practical features for green space development. This paper also identified that, despite significant benefits listed for using these materials in urban green space, their application in green space design and construction of many countries, such as Iran, is still less considered.


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