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How to use mulch

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

Using mulch and compost are probably the two most important things that gardeners can do to grow healthy, beautiful plants in their garden beds year after year. And, mulching your garden or landscape can be relatively easy by following these simple steps.

When to lay down mulch

Mulch can be applied to your garden or landscape any time of the year. However, it is typically best to apply mulch in the spring and fall.

Applying mulch in the spring gives your garden a beautiful, clean look, and provides a wide variety of benefits for your plants and soil. Importantly, place mulch after most of your plants have started to grow so that the plants aren’t buried by the mulch.

Mulching in the fall provides your garden with extra protection against the colder temperatures during our winter months. As the ground begins to thaw in the spring, make sure that the remaining mulch isn’t covering any young perennial plants.

Whenever you add mulch to your garden, place it down after a good rain (or watering) so that the soil is still moist. This helps seal in this moisture.

How to apply mulch

There are four easy steps for putting mulch in your garden:

  1. Clean out the bed. Pull out any weeds, and remove any sticks, leaves, and old mulch. This is also a good time make a clean line between your garden and lawn. Stripping out the old mulch helps your garden remain at the same level so that the roots of your plants remain near the top of the soil and get access to oxygen.

  2. Water. Garden beds should be a little wet before putting down mulch. If it hasn’t rained recently, add water to your plant bed so that the mulch will seal in the moisture.

  3. Spread mulch: Shake bagged mulch or shovel bulk mulch into small piles throughout the garden bed. Then use your hands to spread the mulch so that it is two to four inches thick. Keep the mulch about three inches away from the base of any plants, shrubs or trees. This helps give your plants access to air while also reducing any chance of plant rot or insect nesting grounds.

  4. Water (optional). Watering after you applied mulch can help the mulch settle into place, and helps you see if the mulch has been spread evenly across the garden.

That’s it! With the right mulch and a few simple steps, you can quickly and easily mulch your garden—an important step for creating healthy, beautiful plants.

About us

Freestate Farms makes premium landscaping products—compost, topsoil, and mulch—by recycling food and yard waste in Manassas, VA. Our composts, topsoil, and mulches are specially designed to increase the health and productivity of local soils, and with our focus on sustainable practices, this lets the environment and your garden grow good, together. We sell bulk compost, bagged compost, bulk natural mulches, bulk dyed mulches, bagged dyed mulches, and bulk topsoil.


Compost for sale

Browse our landscaping products: compost, topsoil, and mulch.

Food waste for composting

Learn about composting food and yard waste at Freestate Farms.

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