4 Things to Know Before Buying Mulch

Mulch is an important part of any home landscaping plan. If you are new to mulching, there are a few things you need to determine before you begin to install it in your yard.

1. Type 

Mulch comes in two primary options -- organic or mineral. Organic mulch can be as simple as compost, or it may be made of wood chips such as from eucalyptus. These organic mulches are used in perennial and annual beds alike, but they do need to be refreshed annually because they decompose. Fortunately, this decomposition adds nutrients and structure to the soil. Straw mulches are another option, although these are not typically used on ornamental garden beds. Mineral mulches are made of rocks or gravel. A mineral mulch is a good option for perennial plantings where warm soil and good drainage are a must.

2. Timing

There is no best time to apply mulch, although late winter and spring are commonly recommended. Adding mulch at this time will help insulate the soil, while also helping to smother out any unwanted weeds. If your soil remains cool for a long time in spring, though, you may want to leave it bare until the soil warms up. This is especially true if you grow warm-season plants. Fall is also a good time for mulching if you haven't already, as fall mulch helps insulate plant roots against the upcoming cold and ensures bare winter garden beds still look nice.

3. Amount

As a general rule of thumb, plan to install mulch to a depth of approximately 100mm. Deep mulching such as this smothers most weeds while also conserving moisture in the soil. It is also a good depth for providing soil insulation against temperature extremes. To determine how many cubic meters of mulch you will need to cover your garden beds, multiply in millimetres the length, breadth, and 100mm together. Convert to meters when ordering your mulch.

4. Options

You have two main mulch purchasing options. You can purchase it by the bag or you can purchase loose mulch in bulk. Bagged mulch is best only if you have a small area that requires mulching, otherwise bulk purchased mulch will be the more cost-effective option. You can have both bulk and bagged mulch delivered if you don't have a vehicle capable of picking it up. Just make sure you have an accessible place for the mulch to be dropped off, such as a driveway.

Contact a mulch delivery service if you require more assistance.