Essentials of Mulch in your Yard

Incorporating mulch into your yard is not only a great way to make it look finely manicured, but it is also an inexpensive project to take on. Whether you are dedicated to upkeep your yard or not, just know that mulch will make maintenance a lot easier with these benefits:

● Insulates the soil, helping to provide a buffer from heat and cold.
● Retains water to help the roots stay moist.
● Keeps weeds out to avoid root competition.
● Prevents soil compaction.
● Reduces lawn mower damage.

Types of Mulch

Mulch is a natural material made from bark, leaves, or compost, and used to cover soil. Organic mulch is any type of natural substance that decomposes over time such as bark, wood chips, or pine needles. Straw can be used as mulch as well, ideally in vegetable gardens. There are also different colors of mulch that you are able to choose from. There are multiple types of mulch, and there’s options that will meet your specific needs and preferences.

If you’re looking for the most inexpensive option, you can always use yard scraps and old leaves.

Another option is to make your own mulch from cutting down a tree or bush, then running it through a wood chipper, and use the wood chips as mulch. Tree services will also deliver truck loads of wood chips if you don’t have the ability to use or cut your own trees.

One of the more popular options is to purchase packaged mulch from stores. However, mulching from your own native brush may take better to your yard.

Know Where You’re Putting Your Mulch

Plan our where you’re going to be applying your mulch; the whole yard, around trees, against the house in a flower bed, etc. Once you’ve decided where you’re going to put it, and what mulch you’re going to use, you’ll want to choose how you’re going to line the mulch. Lining your mulch helps separate it from other areas such as grass or pavement. Stones, bricks, or cement blocks are common choices for edging and sprucing up your mulched area.

How Much Mulch Do You Need?

To closely estimate how much mulch you will need, you’ll have to measure the square footage of the area you are covering first. For square or rectangular beds, W x L, and for round areas, multiply the radius (distance from the middle to the edge of the bed) by itself, and then multiply that total by 3.14. Mulch is sold by the cubic yard; one cubic yard of mulch covers a 324-square-foot area an inch deep.

The formula you should then apply is: square footage x desired depth / 324.

Applying Mulch

Applying your mulch is pretty easy, but it can be time consuming. You’ll want to make sure you have the right tools to make the project go by without any issues. Make sure you have gardening gloves, a wheelbarrow, and a shovel, pitchfork or garden hoe to distribute the mulch.

Using landscaping fabric is advised if you are laying mulch in a garden bed to stop any unwanted grass or weeds from sprouting up.

Simply lay the landscaping fabric down, and cut holes where your plants are located. This is great because it lowers the possibility of pulling weeds in the future. Next, add up to three layers of mulch, or 3 inches, to completely cover the desired area. The thicker the mulch is, the longer it takes for grass and weeds to come through. Be sure to fully cover any plant stems with mulch, this will help protect the plants from disease and damage.

Mulch typically needs to be replaced annually for fine or shredded types, or every two to three years for tougher options like bark chips.