How to Make Mulch

Knowing how to make mulch has a number of benefits. Mulch is well known for retarding weed growth and helping the soil to retain moisture. Making your own mulch helps keep your landscape clear of debris while lightening the load on your local landfill.

How To Make Mulch In Your Own Garden

Landscape mulch is typically made from the roughly ground remains of plants and trees. Commercial mulch is often created from bark and other parts of trees. While some mulch is created from renewable resources, many mulch sources utilize clear-cut, mature growth trees-cypress mulch is notorious for coming from these types of sources. Making your own mulch is a great (and simple!) alternative. These tips will help you get started:

  • What not to mulch. Much like a compost pile, you'll want to avoid adding weeds or diseased plant debris to your mulch pile. While cut grass can be used as mulch, you should only use grass from weed free areas of your lawn. Unlike a compost pile, your mulch pile may not generate enough heat to kill weed seeds and bacteria.
  • Leaf them alone. Fallen leaves are perfect for mulch. In the fall, collect leaves from your landscape and pile them up. Chopping leaves up makes them easier to handle and is as simple as running over your leaf pile with a mulching lawnmower.
  • A mulch pile of your own. Your mulch pile should be located where it will be out of the way and won't kill grass or plants underneath. Small gauge poultry wire formed into a circle keep your mulch pile corralled. A sheltered spot (under a tree or overhang) will keep your mulch pile dry and help to keep it from turning into compost before you get a chance to spread it in your planting beds.
  • Into the chipper. If you have a lot of limbs and other shrub or tree debris, consider renting a wood chipper to turn your tree waste into mulch. For smaller, mulch-sized pieces, you may have to put your material through the shredder more than once. Use proper safety procedure and be sure to use gloves and protective eyewear.
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