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Carolina Jessamine
Cooperative Extension

Carolina Yards: Mulch Matters

Principle 3: Mulch Matters

In addition to giving the landscape a neat, finished appearance, maintaining a two-to-three-inch layer of mulch in plant beds and around trees and shrubs can help moderate soil temperature, retain soil moisture, reduce erosion and inhibit weed growth. Organic mulches, such as bark and hardwood, also return nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. Mulch is available in various containers such as bags, bales, or even truckloads. To quantify your mulch needs in yards, multiply the area to be mulched in feet by the desired depth of mulch in inches and divide by 324. There are numerous online tools to perform the calculations for you such as the one listed in the resources section.

pile of mulch

Action Checklist:

 Maintain a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch over the roots of trees, shrubs and in plant beds. Remember to leave at least a hand’s width of space between the mulch and the plant’s trunk or stem. If possible, apply mulch out to the outermost branches of your shrubs and trees.

 Use fallen leaves and pine needles as mulch under trees and shrubs. They make attractive,natural mulches and are cost-free. If you have more than you can use, share them with a friend or neighbor. .

 Create self-mulching areas under trees where leaves can stay where they fall.

 Prevent erosion and soil loss by applying mulch to areas where lawn will not thrive, such as shaded, steeply sloped and high traffic areas of your yard.

Cooperative Extension Carolina Yards
Cooperative Extension Carolina Yards | 103 Barre Hall Clemson, SC 29634