Why use mulch? Conserve soil moisture. Reduce soil erosion and water runoff. Increase soil fertility (organic). Protect surface soil from compaction. Moderate soil temperatures. Suppress weed growth. Improve the appearance of the landscape.
Conserve Soil Moisture Blocking solar radiation. Blocking wind. Reducing evaporation of water from the soil.
Reduce Soil Erosion Reducing drop impact. Slowing water flow.
Increase Soil Fertility Decomposition of organic matter. Subsequent release of nutrients.
Moderate Soil Temperatures Soil surface cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Mulched soil much less likely to freeze.
Inorganic Mulches River rock, lava rock, pea gravel, crushed bricks, etc… Advantages Does not get washed/blown away. Does not break down. Disadvantages Does not benefit soil. Difficult to change at a later date (use barrier). Can be problematic next to sidewalks for snow removal.
Landscape Fabric Permeable fabric laid between soil and mulch. Always use under rock mulch. Can be problematic after installation. Weeds grow on top and roots grow through causing difficulty in removing weeds. Prevents the decomposition of organic mulches.
Mulch Math Mental Math 1 cubic yard of mulch covers an area measuring 10’ x 10’ x 3” deep
You desire to mulch a 2,500 square foot bed with 2 inches of shredded bark. How many cubic yards of shredded bark mulch will you need to buy and bring to the job site to accomplish this: 2” 2,500 sq. ft.
If the bed is square or rectangular in shape, the total bed area is simply the length x width. How many cubic yards would you need to cover the area below with 2 inches of mulch? About 2.3 cu. yds. 25 ft 15 ft
If the bed is triangular shaped, the total bed area is equal to 1/2 (base x height). How many cubic yards would you need to cover the area below with 2 inches of mulch? About 1.85 cu. yds. 20 ft 30 ft
If the bed is circular, the total bed area is π x radius 2. Remember the radius of a circle is ½ the diameter!!! How many cubic yards would you need to cover the area below with 3 inches of mulch? About 4.2 cu. yds. 24 ft