What's the Best Way to Lay Mulch? A Guide

Did you know many gardeners use mulch to improve soil aeration and control weeds? Adding mulch to your vegetable gardens and flowerbeds is beneficial, but you need to use the right amount.

If you want to learn how much mulch to use, keep reading. In this guide, you’ll learn the best way to lay mulch.

Laying mulch isn’t a difficult task. Using the proper tools and laying mulch in the right seasons will improve your landscape.

Ready to learn more? Check out the tips below.

Calculating How Much Mulch You Need

Are you wondering how to calculate the amount of mulch you need? Mulch will get sold by the cubic foot. So first, you’ll need to determine how many cubic feet of mulch to buy.

Measure the square footage of the area you plan to mulch. Next, you will multiply the length and width of the site. How deep will you lay the mulch? Garden experts recommend between two to four inches deep.

Finally, you will multiply the inches of mulch by the square footage of your area. Divide that number by 12. A cubic foot of mulch can cover 12-square feet with one inch of mulch.

When Should You Layer the Mulch?

There are certain times of the year you should spread mulch.

Try adding mulch in the spring. The rainy season will break down the organic materials and improve soil quality. Your landscape will look clean and neat throughout the summer and spring months.

You could also layer mulch in the fall. It will benefit your plants and provide some insulation in the cool months. Try to mulch the ground when it’s moist and thawed out.

Get the Right Tools

You should have a pitchfork or a shovel. If you’re going to have organic mulch delivered to your home, you will need to then put the mulch in a wheelbarrow. Get a sturdy wheelbarrow to transport your mulch.

A bow rake can help spread the mulch over the land. The bow rake has short tines that are rigid and robust, easy for spreading and breaking up the material.

Use a handy leaf rake as well. Pick up a pair of gloves for when you want to spread the mulch around the plants.

Prep Work Before Spreading the Mulch

You should spend some time cleaning up the flowerbeds and vegetable garden.

Get rid of debris, sticks, old mulch, and dried-up leaves. Freshen up the edging that’s around your flowerbeds. You could use a spade to cut a line between the lawn and bed.

You Should Water the Flowerbeds or Garden

Has your area experienced a dry spell? Try wetting the dry beds. The mulch will help to hold in the moisture in your flower beds.

Before watering the beds, you could apply a pre-emergent herbicide. This prevents weeds from growing. Watering the flowerbed will then activate the herbicide.

Get Rid of Weeds

Also, before laying down the mulch, you’ll want to spend some time hauling out weeds. Clean out the weeds so your mulching will suppress further weed growth.

Begin Spreading Mulch

You should shake the mulch from your bag or begin shoveling it onto the flowerbed area. With your gloved hands, layer mulch around the base of your plants. Try spreading it between two and four inches thick.

If the mulch is too thin, the weeds will push through. Yet, if you layer it on too thick, you’ll prevent water from hitting the soil. A final watering will help hold the mulch in place.

Keep Mulch a Few Inches Away

You should try keeping the mulch a few inches away from the trees’ trunks and the plants’ bases.

Distance between mulch and plants will help prevent plant rot or other diseases. Also, insects won’t use it as a nesting ground.

Mulching Vegetable Gardens

You should mulch your vegetable gardens differently than your flowerbeds.

In a vegetable garden, you should turn the soil once a year. Heavier mulches, created from wood bark, aren’t as easy to use. Try using light and organic materials like leaf litter or straw in a vegetable garden.

Your vegetable garden should have mulch around the base of the plants. Try mulching between the plant rows so you can keep the weeds away. Putting mulch around your vegetables will help with moisture retention.

How Do You Maintain Mulch Beds?

During your summer landscape work, try removing any debris from the flowerbeds. As soon as you spot weeds, you should pull them out of the garden bed, so they don’t get bigger.

Try turning the mulch a few times each season. Use a bedding fork or garden rake. This will help improve air circulation.

Some homeowners will actually add another layer of mulch during the season. This will help keep the right depth of mulch in place. Over time, the organic material in the mulch will break down.

Understanding the Best Way to Lay Mulch

Did you find this guide helpful on the best way to lay mulch? Look at using mulch in your flower and vegetable beds. You can help hold moisture in your vegetable beds and prevent weeds from popping up.

Make sure you have a sturdy wheelbarrow and shovel when it comes time to spread the mulch.

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