Before you mulch

Mulch is the icing to the cake, there is some work to be done before you spread your mulch. Follow the steps below to achieve great results.

  1. Kill Weeds –

    it is a good idea to spray all weeds with Round-Up or another weed killer 1 to 2 weeks prior to mulching. This will allow the weeds to completely die. Dead weeds are the best weeds to pull!
  2. Trim Trees and Bushes –

    because of the debris produced, it is recommended that you trim your trees and bushes prior to mulching.
  3. Clean Out Your Beds –

    clean out all dead leaves, weeds and trimmings with a rake. An adjustable rake works best.
  4. Cultivate –

    after your beds have been cleaned, cultivate any compacted soil or mulch. A roto-tiller or hand cultivator will do the job. Cultivating will allow moisture and air to pass through the mulch easier.
  5. Edge Your Beds –

    creating a clean edge really enhances your landscape and gives it a professional look. An edging shovel or power edger can be used to create your edge. Try using your garden hose as a guide to create nice flowing curves.
  6. Rake Smooth –

    using a stiff rake, such as a mud rake, smooth out all the surfaces to be mulched. Otherwise, your mulch will look lumpy.
  7. Apply a Pre-Emergent –

    now is the time to apply one such as Preen, to prevent germination of weed seeds. A second application, after the mulch has been installed, can add protection from weed seeds that may germinate in the mulch.
  8. It’s Time To Mulch –

    using your hands or a rake, apply new mulch over the existing cultivated mulch or soil to a total of at least 3 inches deep. When complete, water to moisturize mulch and settle it into place.
  9. Mulch Maintenance –

    after a month or so, check your mulch for compaction. If compacted, use a garden claw or cultivator to loosen it. This will allow water and air to pass, which helps prevent the growth of fungus and restores appearance.
  10. Fungus –

    if present, remove it with the surrounding mulch. Rake existing mulch to cover the area, then water thoroughly. Fungus is a sure sign that your mulch has compacted and your beds have dehydrated, cultivation and watering may be necessary.

How to Calculate

Formula to calculate the amount of mulch that will be needed.

You need to multiply Length X Width X Depth of area to be covered with mulch in feet. To figure depth, use .25 for mulch 3 inches deep, .5 for mulch 6 inches deep, etc. This will give you the amount of mulch needed in cubic feet.

Now you will need to divide the total amount of cubic feet by 27 to get cubic yards. There are 27 cubic feet in one cubic yard. If the area to be mulched already has flowers, shrubs or trees, you will need to adjust your calculation. For example, if half of the area is covered with flowers, shrubs or trees, you will only need half the amount of mulch.