A 2-inch layer of bark mulch will reduce loss of moisture during the summer, reduce soil temperatures in the summer and delay the ground from freezing in the winter, according to the Ohio State University. Bark mulch also helps prevent weeds from growing and the roots from heaving in the winter, which is caused by the soil repeatedly freezing and thawing. Apply mulch at planting and, depending on the kind of bark mulch you use, you may need to replenish annually.
Choose the type of mulch based on conditions in your yard and your preferences. Pine bark adds acidity to your soil, cypress bark decomposes more slowly than most other bark mulches and cedar bark has a pleasant fragrance.
Cover playgrounds and other areas where you do not want weeds or grass to grow. Bark is an excellent mulch to use to prevent grass and weeds from growing.
Lay bark mulch around the garden bed around and between your plants. Keep the mulch about 1 inch away from the stems of your bushes, trees and plants to prevent molding.
Pull the mulch back about 6 inches from the stems of your bushes and other woody plants in the fall. Rodents are less likely to feed on the stems if they are exposed.
Apply 2 to 2 ½ inches of bark mulch. It will settle some, but too much mulch will invite rodents and other small animals to take up residence in your landscape.