DIY Mulching Techniques for the Charlotte NC Gardener: A Step-by-Step Guide

Every green thumb, regardless of skill level, benefits from having a base knowledge and understanding of mulch. With its many varieties that differ in texture, color, and purpose, mulch in Andolina Materials can be beneficial for just about any garden or landscaping project. With that being said, choosing the right mulch for your specific project can sometimes be challenging, as it requires you to sort through a variety of different options. But with a little bit of research, you can learn both how to choose the right mulch for your project and also learn how to properly implement it into your landscape care routine.

Gardening and landscaping both involve hard work and commitment, as well as experimentation and a willingness to engage in some trial-and-error learning. However, by reading about DIY mulching techniques, you can avoid some common pitfalls and mistakes that plague both novice gardeners and certified green thumbs. Ultimately, the rewards of growing a garden are numerous, and with the proper tools and materials anyone can do so effectively. In this post, we’ll explain all that you need to know about DIY mulching methods.

Step #1- Pick the Proper Mulch

In order to fully grasp the techniques behind mulch and mulching one must first understand the definition and general purpose of mulch. In its simplest definition mulch is any material that covers the surface of gardening and/or landscaping soil with the purpose of protecting the soil from erosion, water evaporation, pests, weeds, and temperature fluctuations. Mulch is categorized in two different ways depending on its composition. The first of which is inorganic which is crafted from synthetic or mineral materials such as plastic, rubber, gravel, pebbles, or rocks. On the other hand, organic mulch is derived from natural substances such as bark, straw, leaves, grass, wood chips, and more. Each of these types will have its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The key is knowing which one is right for you.

mulch Charlotte NC

Choosing the right mulch may seem like a daunting task, but with a little bit of research you can quickly narrow down your options. As the rule of thumb start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What type of plants do I want to grow?
  • What type of mulch will perform well in my local climate?
  • And finally, what is my budget?

While there are certainly more questions that you can ask yourself, the aforementioned serve as good starting points. As always, seeking recommendations from experts at your local nursery or gardening supply store is a great way to utilize the resources at your disposal. 

 

Step #2 Take Advantage of Free Mulch Opportunities

One of the best things about mulch is that in many cases, gardeners and landscapers can find mulching materials in their very own backyards. Yep, you read that right. There’s a good chance the perfect mulch is already available, for free, on your property.

If the abovementioned doesn’t apply to you, don’t worry, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of luck. In fact, did you know that most municipalities have programs in place to provide free wood chips? By doing so, they can help recycle goods locally. Additionally, tree services will oftentimes provide free wood chips to residents in their immediate service area because it’s an easy and effective way for them to offload ground wood chips.  If you’re especially lucky, you may even come across a tree service that’s working on a grinding job in your immediate vicinity. 

Step #3 Invest in the Right Tools

To clarify, you don’t need a mulcher or a yard tool with mulching capabilities in order to install mulch into your landscape effectively. Nevertheless, it’s still something that you might want to look into, as it can help to significantly simplify the installation process and ensure that you’re getting the most out of your mulch. In some cases, you might already have a tool at your disposal, as a decent number of lawnmowers have a mulching tool integrated into their machine.
In addition to lawn mowers there are also specialized mulch spreaders available for you to purchase, or you can even use tools that you might already have on hand in your garage or shed, like shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, pitchforks, and more. Another great option? Rentals. Certain local landscaping suppliers may have rental options available. However, large national chains like Home Depot have a large selection of tools and machinery available that you can rent by the hour. That way, you can get the machinery that you need without having to spring or save for an outright purchase.

Step #4 Get Your Measurements Down Pat

In general, the success of your gardening or landscaping projects is going to be predicated on taking the proper measurements and adhering to the required dimensions. Basically, gardening requires a lot of careful planning when it comes to dimensions, and this includes making sure you are using the proper volume of mulch, and evenly dispersing it across the landscape in question. Finding out how much mulch you need ahead of time can save you lots of money, as generally, larger projects will require you to buy mulch in bulk.

 
Using too much mulch can ultimately suffocate your plant’s roots. It can also cause your soil to turn soggy, which is often the root cause of issues like plant disease. Generally speaking, you don’t want to use more than 2 inches of mulch on any given section of garden or landscape.

Step #5 Reinstall Mulch When Necessary

As with any gardening or landscaping material, it’s advisable to check the status of your mulch Charlotte NC routinely to ensure it’s performing at its highest capability. Looking for early signs of decay, compaction, or erosion are good places to begin as they are telltale indicators that your mulch should probably be replaced. Furthermore, if you notice that your mulch is thinning out, fading in color, or producing unpleasant odors, it might be time to consider investing in a fresh supply. When you reinstall mulch, prepare its surroundings as you would any other landscaping material, by freeing it of weeds and debris. This includes disposing of old, leftover mulch. Once you do so, you can repeat the necessary preliminary steps.

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