Every spring and summer, homeowners around the country plan to lay down new mulch in the flower beds, around trees, or bushes.

Before you go out to buy ten bags of mulch, here are some things you should consider and know.

How To Calculate How Much Mulch You Need?

When people wonder how much mulch they need, they often find mulch listed online by the cubic yard. One cubic yard of mulch is 27 cubic feet.

Calculate The Mulch You Need

Most people find it hard to envision a cubic yard of mulch and instead want a 3-inch covering of mulch across the area they’re landscaping.

In order to find out how many cubic yards or feet of mulch you need, multiply the length and width of the area in feet. Then multiply that number by .25ft (3 inches of mulch) to get the cubic feet you’ll need to purchase.

For example, if you have a 10ft x 15ft area, you would multiply 10×15 to get 150 square feet and then multiply that by .25 to get 37.5 cubic feet or about 13 cubic yards.

37.5 cubic feet means you’ll need to purchase about 19 2-cubic feet bags of mulch.

How To Put Down Mulch?

When putting mulch down, you should wear yard gloves and use a metal rake to help spread it out.

Spreading Mulch With A Rake

Simply cut open the bag and spread it in a large pile in the area you are mulching.

Begin to spread out the mulch pile to the desired depth you’d like using your hands or a metal rake.

Avoid a thick layer of mulch near trees and flowers, and ensure your mulch is even across the entire area.

When To Lay Down Mulch?

The best time to mulch is around the middle of spring or after your flowers and plants have had time to get a strong foundation.

Mulching at this time will ensure that any weeds that try to grow throughout the year will not be able to penetrate the thick layer of mulch you’ve laid down.

It’s also a great time to be outdoors and work. It’s better to be outside working in the cool spring than in the heat of the summer.

How To Mulch Around A Tree?

Mulching around a tree might seem easy, but you probably have been doing it wrong your whole life. You can actually use too much mulch around a tree.

Mulch Around A Tree

When most people mulch trees, they pile mulch around the trees and even cover tree trunks.

This is actually not healthy for the tree and can starve it of nutrients.

Instead, you should leave a light amount of mulch about 6-12 inches out from the tree trunk.

This layer should be enough to cover the ground so that it looks aesthetically pleasing but doesn’t suffocate the tree.

How To Mulch A Flower Bed?

When mulching a bed, you should follow a similar method as mulching trees.

Mulch Around A Flower Bed

Begin by preparing the area and removing any large rocks or weeds. Weeding now before putting mulch down will leave the finished product looking clean.

A 3-inch layer of mulch is often enough to help suppress weeds, but remember to mulch the surface of the soil around flowers and plants.

Like trees, you can suffocate the plants with too much mulch, especially when it’s something like a small plant compared to a tree.

What Type Of Mulch Is Best To Use?

There are a wide variety of mulches available for purchase. You can find everything from cedar mulch to artificial mulches that last years.

It all boils down to what your specific needs are and what look you’re going for.

Organic Mulch

Some homeowners prefer natural cedar bagged mulch for their property. Not only does it smell wonderful, but it will naturally break down over time and give nutrients back to the soil.

Others prefer red or black dyed mulch as it gives their lawns a nice contrast to the green grass and makes certain features pop.

You can also find rough bagged mulch that is simply just shredded logs and bark chips. It typically isn’t treated and works just as well as other types of mulch.

Artificial Mulch

As attractive as rubber mulch is, you should avoid it at all costs. The pros simply don’t outweigh the cons.

Rubber mulch has been known to leach toxins into the soil and can actually kill your plants. While it is nice to mulch once and forget about it, you’ll soon find your plants and flowers suffering.

Benefits Of Mulching

There’s a reason professional landscapers always use mulch on their client’s properties. Mulch has numerous benefits for your property.


Natural mulches will add nutrients back to the soil after they break down over time.

This is perfect for areas with flowers and plants, as the soil will get richer year after year.

Soil Erosion

You’ll also prevent soil erosion from wind and rain. The mulch will keep the soil from blowing away on windy days, and it will also prevent rain from washing away your topsoil.

Mulch will also stop weeds from growing up. There may be a few that persevere and pop up, but if done right, mulch is a great way to keep weeds down.


Lastly, mulch makes yards look beautiful. The different colors contrasting with green lawns and different flowers are a great way to emphasize different aspects of your property.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

How many cubic feet are in one cubic yard of mulch?

A yard is 3 feet, so one cubic yard of mulch is 3ftx3ftx3ft or 27 cubic feet.

What do they use to dye mulch?

Most mulch is dyed using environmentally safe chemicals mixed with water.

The wood chips then go through a small bath with this water and get coated thoroughly with the dye.

Should I order mulch in bulk or buy bagged mulch?

The answer to this question depends on how much mulch you need and how many bags of mulch you can fit in your vehicle.

If you plan on mulching large parts of your yard, it might be better to calculate exactly how many cubic feet of mulch you need.

You can often get a better deal on bulk mulch from a local supplier than you can by buying individual bags from the store.

In order to get a drop-off of mulch, you will need a spot on your property for the truck to leave it.

What are the disadvantages of mulching?

There are no real disadvantages to mulching, but there are disadvantages if you mulch too much.

A layer of mulch larger than 3 inches can starve flowers of nutrients, water, and air.

Mulch stacked up against a tree trunk can eventually lead to rotting as water constantly stays in contact with the trunk.


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