Mulching is as
simple as 1-2-3-4
1. Mulch is generally sold at garden centers by the cubic foot (the amount you see in the basket,
opposite) or cubic yard (the amount filling the pickup bed, opposite). To calculate how much you will need, use the following formulas:
Cubic yards: [Length (ft.) x Width (ft.) x Depth (in.)] / 324
Cubic feet: [Length (ft.) x Width (ft.) x Depth (in.)] / 12
For example, if your garden has a length of 3 feet, a width of 3 feet, and you need 4 inches of mulch, the formula for cubic feet would look like this:
(3 x 3 x 4) / 12 = 3 cubic feet
Using that formula, you would buy one 3-cubic-foot bag, or buy two 2-cubic-foot bags and have some left over.
2. Mulch application is best done immediately after planting has been finished in mid- to late spring. Water the new plants before applying mulch.
3. Fine materials, such as compost, grass clippings, and hulls can be applied to depths of 2 inches, but larger materials such as bark mulches require layers of 3-4 inches. When using sheets of newspaper, put down a layer of 6-8 sheets between plant rows.
4. Lay mulch down evenly, and avoid piling the product around plant stems. Mulch mounded around stems and tree trunks allows pests, disease organisms, and moisture to be in constant contact with plant tissues.
Lightweight mulches, such as rice hulls or shredded newspapers, may need to be watered to keep them from blowing away.