Landscaping 101: Spreading Mulch

Spreading mulch is relatively easy if you know how to do it. It also comes with several benefits. However, it can be a little complicated if you are new to it, and there is also a wrong way to do it.


Let’s explore some tips that can help you spread mulch properly.


Getting the Timing Right

When it comes to mulch, the question about timing is quite common. Well, the quick answer is, you can do it either in spring or fall. Most people prefer to do it in the spring so that it looks fresh throughout the summer. If you wait for the colder months, it can look a bit faded at the end of winter.


In spring, wait until the ground has thawed before you get to spread your mulch. However, avoid waiting too long otherwise the ground will dry up. You need to do it whilst there’s still some moisture in the soil.


If the area has plants, wait until they have grown, then apply the mulch. Mulch can suppress growing plants the same way it prevents weeds from growing, so be careful.


What About the Thickness of the Mulch Layer? 

It is recommended to keep the mulch layer at a thickness between 2-4 inches deep. If it’s below that, you lose all the protection from weeds. Anything above four inches will prevent water from getting in. It will also bury the base of the plants which can hinder their growth.


How to Properly Spread Mulch

Believe it or not, there is a correct and incorrect method of spreading mulch. If you fail to do it right, you might end up with some undesirable results.


If you are applying mulch to an area that doesn’t have plants then you might be in luck, it’s not too complicated. All you need to do is spread it evenly to get a nice layer of the right thickness. If, however, there are some plants, you need to be extra careful.


One of the most common mistakes made by new gardeners is laying heaps on mulch at the base of the plants. This is not good for the plants at all. If you bury the stems of plants and the trunks of trees, you can end up dealing with lots of pest-related issues, plant diseases, and rotting stems/trunks.


It is therefore important to ensure that there is some distance between the mulch and the base of the plants. This allows adequate air circulation around the stems and trunks. You can use your hands to spread it out and ensure that none of it reaches up to the stems. Leave about three inches of space from where the mulch ends to the base of the plant.

Supplies Needed

Apart from the mulch, there are several tools and supplies that can make your job easier. Please note that some of them are optional so if you don’t have them it’s not a total train smash.

  • Garden fork
  • Scoop shovel
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Bow rake
  • Weeding tool
  • Gloves


Below is a quick list of the steps that you must follow when spreading mulch:

  • Do away with established weeds
  • Renew the edging on the garden beds
  • Spread the mulch


That’s it, now you know how to properly spread mulch. Simple right? You can go ahead and enjoy all the benefits of mulching and get that award for the best landscaped home that you have always wanted. One last thing: Don’t forget to freshen the mulch regularly.