Mulching 101

As winter comes to an end, homeowners and businesses alike are getting ready to refresh the look of their properties. The most popular way to refresh the look of a property is by adding a layer of mulch to your landscape.  Mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of an area of soil.  The purpose of mulch has more than just aesthetic value.  Mulch will hold necessary moisture in your landscaping beds.  As mulch breaks down, it will improve the quality and health of your soil and reduce weed growth.

Dyed Mulch

Undoubtedly the most popular type of mulch, dyed or colored mulches cover landscaping beds all across America and beyond.  Dyed mulches most popular colors are brown, black, and red in color and can be purchased in individual bags at big box stores like Home Depot, Lowes, and Walmart.  For larger applications, dyed mulch is purchased in bulk at your local landscaping supply center.  Most landscape supply centers deliver large quantities for a delivery fee.  If you are having a landscaping company install the mulch to your property, in most cases they will handle delivery.

For improved weed control in problematic landscapes, a landscaping fabric should be installed.  It is imperative that the landscaping fabric is installed over top of the soil and not over a layer of mulch.  All of the old much should be removed before installing the fabric.  Once the old mulch has been removed, the fabric can be installed and then the fresh mulch can be applied to the mulch beds.  The landscaping fabric will create a barrier for additional weed control and will allow water to seep through to provide necessary moisture that your landscape needs to thrive.

There are other types of mulch that can be used although the above named are the most popular in the Pittsburgh and surrounding areas.

How thick should I lay mulch?

2-3 inches is plenty.  Don't over due it. More isn't better when you are talking mulch.

How much does mulch cost?

When mulch is purchased in individual bags, it can normally be purchased for less than $4-$5 per bag.  At the beginning of the season, you will see everyone selling mulch from convenience stores to the Big Box Stores.  The deals range from 3-4 bags for $10 usually and would be perfect for small areas in your landscape for the DIY'er.  Individual bags are also handy for mulching on hillsides as they can be carried more easily than bulk products.

Bulk mulch will usually cost between $30-$35/cubic yard plus a delivery fee.  Bulk mulch is more often used for larger projects.

Please take caution when installing large quantities of mulch.  It is very labor intensive and backbreaking work.  Don't bite off more than your can chew.  You know your limits, if you feel the mulch job is more than you can handle, contact a professional.

Happy Mulching from American Groundskeeping!

Your mulch job will always look better with a nice clean edge on the mulch beds.

Your mulch job will always look better with a nice clean edge on the mulch beds.