Video: How to Mulch a Garden

Video: How to Mulch a Garden

Watch this How To Video


Gardening doesn't have to be a lot of work, especially if you use mulch in your vegetable and ornamental beds and pathways. Mulch is a huge garden timesaver because it helps prevent weeds, reduces the need to water, moderates soil temperatures, adds organic matter to the soil as it breaks down and helps your garden look tidy.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You'll Need

  • Bark mulch or wood chips
  • Bow rake
  • Weeder
  • Hose


Step One

Grass clippings and straw work great in vegetable gardens because they break down quickly. Leaves and pine needles break down a bit more slowly and are better used in ornamental beds. Wood chips and bark work well in pathways and ornamental beds because they take a long time to decompose and have a uniform texture.

Step Two

Remove existing weeds from the area you plan on mulching.

Step Three

Water the soil before mulching. Mulch helps soil stay moist, but if you apply mulch to dry soil it actually prevents water from soaking into the ground. So, it is very important to water your soil deeply prior to mulching. Use a slow, steady stream of water and allow the water to soak into the soil 6 to 8 inches deep.

Step Four

Layer mulch 2 to 4 inches deep, thick enough to block light and keep weeds from sprouting. Using more than the recommended depth has no benefit.

Step Five

Keep mulch away from the crown of plants. It's important to think “donut,” not “volcano,” when mulching. Piling mulch up against the trunks of trees and shrubs (so it looks like a volcano) or covering the crown of plants can slowly kill them. Prevent this problem by leaving a ring of bare soil around the base of each plant, like a donut.

Step Six

Mulch breaks down slowly over time. Replenish mulch when only a thin layer is left. The beauty of mulch is that as it decomposes, it actually enriches your garden soil, much like compost. By adding mulch, you improve your soil while at the same time reducing the need to water and pull weeds.

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