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How Much Mulch Do I Need?

As spring rolls into the Bluegrass, many homeowners roll up their sleeves and tackle their flower beds and landscaping. Clearing, weeding, trimming, and planting all signal the fresh start that Spring offers.

How Much Mulch Do I Need

One of the best ways to inexpensively refresh your yard is by mulching. Mulch plays an essential role in your landscaping. Not only does it make your yard look good, but it helps with moisture retention, provides important nutrients to plans, and suffocates those annoying weeds. But how much mulch do you need?

Types of Mulch

First you'll need to decide what type of mulch you want. There are several options to choose from. You can choose between high-quality hardwood mulch, aromatic mulch, economy mulch and even mulch made out of recycled tires. You'll need to decide if you want coarse, shredded or fine consistencies. The finer the consistency of the mulch, the faster it will decompose. Finally, there are different colors of mulch that you can choose from as well, but for the most part, personal preference is the biggest factor.

Bulk vs. Bagged

Landscapers and garden centers sell mulch in bulk or by the bag. The most common size of bagged mulch is 2 cubic feet. Bulk mulch sells by the cubic yard. One cubic yard of mulch is equal to 13.5 bags of mulch.  One cubic yard of mulch will cover 324 square feet of ground at a depth of 1 inch. To determine how many cubic yards you need: Take the square footage of your garden bed and multiply it by the desired mulch depth and divide it by 324. When buying in bulk, you can either have it delivered to your home or pick it up, if you have access to a truck or trailer. If you have them deliver it, expect to pay an additional $45 to $55 for mulch delivery, so keep that in mind when you're pricing mulch out. The following breakdown will help you when pricing out mulch. This is based of purchasing two cubic yards of economy mulch at $24 per yard or $3.00 per bag.

By the bag: 27 bags (13.5 bags per cubic yard) x $3.00 per bag = $81.00

By the yard: 2 cubic yards x $24 per yard = $48.oo

Bulk + Delivery charge: 2 x $24 + $50 = $98.00

Avoid Too Much Mulch

For brand new flower beds, you'll want about 2 to 3 inches worth of mulch spread evenly throughout the area. For existing beds, spread only 1 inch. The biggest mistake you can make when spreading mulch is piling it high around the base of a tree. Excessive mulch can saturate the tree roots with water which can cause rot and fungus problems, and block oxygen from reaching the roots.

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