When should you mulch your yard? Is it possible to mess it up? Does it matter which kind of mulch you use?
At Tree Care by Robert Miller, we want to help you make the most of your Florida lawn. We’ve got everything you need to know about mulch, whether you’re adding to your garden or around your trees. We’ve even got the mulch!
Landscaping with mulch has many benefits for your lawn:
- Mulch traps moisture by blocking some of the sunlight that could cause water to evaporate too quickly.
- Mulch keeps the soil at a constant temperature, protecting roots from extreme heat and cold.
- Mulch helps to keep weeds from growing.
- Mulch prevents erosion, keeping rain from washing away the soil.
- Mulch makes a nice yard look beautiful.
Refresh your yard this spring with garden mulch.
The best time to mulch in Florida is in the spring after the ground has had a chance to warm up. Just be sure to mulch your yard before the summer heat starts drying out the soil!
Avoid adding mulch to your yard after a heavy rain. Too much trapped moisture can encourage rot and mold, so wait a day or two for some of the water to evaporate.
Mulching in your garden or lawn requires a few tools.
Before you start using mulch for your landscaping, make sure you have a few basics on hand:
- Gardening gloves. Shoveling, hauling, and raking mulch can do a number on your hands. Be sure to protect them with sturdy gloves.
- Wheelbarrow. Use it to haul bags of mulch or transport mulch from a larger pile.
- Steel rake. You’ll use this to spread the mulch evenly around the area. A plastic leaf rake won’t hold up to the tougher pieces of mulch.
You may need a few other tools, depending on your lawn care needs. But the items listed above are necessary for any mulching project.
If you’re looking to refresh old mulch, there are a few simple steps to follow:
- Decide what’s needed. Check the depth of the old mulch. You’ll want to keep mulch 2-3 inches deep. If your mulch is still at that depth, there’s no reason to add more. Check for matting. If the old mulch is pressed down and compact, it won’t let sunlight or water through. Run your rake through it to fluff it back up. Check for bare spots and places where old mulch has piled up. You want to make sure the mulch is evenly layered.
- Apply fresh mulch. Add just enough mulch to create a layer about 2-3 inches deep. Be sure to leave some room around the trunks of trees and stems of smaller plants. Give your mulch a good watering.
- Take care of your new mulch. Check for weeds and grass throughout the year. Though mulch does help prevent the growth of weeds, some stubborn ones might still get through. If your mulch shows signs of matting, run your rake through it to make sure air can circulate through. Refresh your mulch once a year to ensure a healthy and beautiful lawn.
Mulching your yard for the first time? Follow these simple steps for professional-looking results.
- Prepare the area for mulch. Pull, cut, or scrape away weeds and grass. If you want, use rocks or decorative items to create a border for the mulch.
- Put down layers of mulch. Pile mulch in the area you want to apply it and rake it into place. For trees, you’ll want to cover the ground as far as the branches stretch, at least 4 feet from the trunk. This ensures you’re protecting the entire root system. Keep layering the mulch until it’s about 2-3 inches deep. Areas in your yard that get a lot of sun will probably need 3 inches. Shaded areas may need only 2 inches. Water your new mulch well.
- Take care of your mulch. Mulch helps stop weeds from growing, but be on the lookout for stubborn plants that breakthrough. In areas that see a lot of foot traffic or run-off, watch for matting. If the mulch is pressed down, valuable sunlight and water can’t get through to the roots. Fluff the area with a rake as needed. Refresh your mulch once a year by following the process above.
You may be wondering what type of mulch to buy for your lawn.
Here at Tree Care by Robert Miller, we have two kinds of garden mulch available, as well as topsoil.
Our mulch is organic, which means it’s made of wood (not rocks or plastic). Organic mulch helps create a healthier lawn. As it breaks down, it releases nutrients into the soil.
- Last longer because they take longer to break down.
- Generally create a prettier look.
- Are great for creating pathways that won’t get as muddy as dirt paths.
- Breaks down faster, adding nutrients to the soil sooner (great for mulching in the garden!).
- Is a little better at trapping water and preventing loss through evaporation.
If you’re stuck on which to choose, just go with the one you like better. Either way, your garden will thank you for it.
Topsoil has many benefits for your lawn.
Topsoil is made up of the first five or six inches of dirt. Use it to:
- Fix uneven areas in your yard by laying down multiple layers in those spots.
- Take care of bare spots by giving grass seed what it needs to take root.
- Replace nutrients in the soil that may be depleted.
- Start a garden where there wasn’t one before.
- Improve drainage in areas that collect water. (The puddles in your yard happen because the soil is too compact. Break it up and mix in topsoil to help the area absorb the water.)
How much mulch do you actually need?
Now that you know the benefits of garden mulch and how to use it, you may be wondering how much you actually need.
Garden mulch is sold by the cubic yard. The University of Florida Gardening Solutions provides these steps for figuring out how much to buy:
- Measure the area where you will be placing the mulch. Find out the length and the width, and then multiply them together.
- Multiply this number by the number of inches deep you plan on layering your mulch.
- Now divide your answer by 324. (This is the amount of mulch that will cover 1 cubic yard.)
- Now you know how many cubic yards of mulch you’ll need to buy for your project.
There’s no question that landscaping with mulch brings a Florida yard to life. Whether you’re looking to refresh your mulch or start from scratch, Tree Care by Robert Miller has what you need.