Guide to Selecting a Garden Mulch

Guide to Selecting a Garden Mulch

How Much Mulch?

Mulch is usually sold by the cubic yard, and that can leave gardeners scratching their head when trying to figure out how much to buy. Here’s the easiest way:

1. First, find out the size of the area you want to cover in square feet. This is easy; just multiply the length of your garden by the width.

2. Next, decide how deep you want your mulch to be, in inches. A couple of inches is usually sufficient.

3. Now multiply the size of your garden in square feet (#1) by the depth of your mulch in inches (#2).

4. Divide the number you get in #3 by 324. This is the number of cubic yards of mulch you will need to cover your garden.

If you're looking for a way to save lots of time in the garden, look no further. Mulching your flower and vegetable beds will drastically reduce the amount of time spent weeding, watering and fighting pests. Mulch also improves the appearance of your garden, and keep dirt from splashing up on your flowers and vegetables when it rains.

If possible, consider using an organic mulch. Organic mulches are those that used to be living material, such as bark, straw, leaves, grass clippings and pine needles. These organic mulches improve the soil by adding nutrients as they decompose and encouraging earthworm activity. Organic mulches aren't perfect, though. If you have problems with rodents, you may want to choose an inorganic mulch. In very moist climates, organic mulches may hold too much moisture. The excessive moisture will encourage slugs and snails, and may even cause the stems of your plants that come in contact with the mulch to rot.

Use the menu below to explore the advantages and disadvantages of some common (and a few not-so-common) mulch materials.

Select a mulch type from the following list. Please use your browser's "back" button to return to this page.

Aluminum Foil Geotextiles Peanut Hulls
Asphalt Grass Clippings Peat Moss
Bark, Mixed Green Mulch Pine Needles
Bark, Redwood Groundcovers Plastic
Buckwheat Hulls Hay Poultry Litter
Burlap Hops Pyrophyllite
Cocoa Hulls Landscape Fabric Salt Hay
Coffee Grounds Leaf Mold Sawdust
Compost Leaves Seaweed
Cork, Ground Manure Stone
Corncobs, Ground Muck Straw
Cottonseed Hulls Newspaper Sugarcane
Cranberry Vines Oak Leafs Vermiculite
Evergreen Boughs Oyster Shells Walnut Shells
Felt Paper Paper Woodchips
Fiberglass Paper Pulp Wood Shavings

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