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Mulching 101

woodrow meditating on a wheelbarrow full of mulch

Whether you’ve come back for more - you mulch connoisseur, you - or it’s your first time using GreenCycle mulch, we figure you might have a few questions. No sweat! We have a few answers.

Should I use mulch?

Let’s be honest, using mulch is a no brainer. But don’t just listen to us, look at the benefits for yourself. Mulch not only suppresses weeds and retains moisture, it will also help break down and add organic nutrients to the soil underneath. Your plants will thank you too, mulch keeps the soil around your plants’ roots cooler on warm days and warmer on cold nights. And, of course, it makes for some jaw-dropping curb appeal and it will also give you a start on that speedo body for the coming/going season. 

Which mulch should I get?

This is the most common question for new time mulchers especially when there are so many options in front of you - dyed mulch, hardwood mulch, fine grind mulch, playground mulch. But choosing the right one depends on your priorities for the mulch whether that be added aesthetics, soil enrichment, temperature control, or minimizing weeds. If you’re having trouble deciding, give us a call and talk to our mulchologists to find which one is best for you.

What will I need?

You’ll only need a few tools when it comes to your next mulching project. And chances are you have a few lying in your shed or garage already. You’ll want to make sure you have a pitchfork and rake to move your mulch, spread it, and level it out. But if you’re one to get down and dirty and spread the mulch yourself, garden gloves are a necessity. 

When working with bulk mulch, i.e., a big ol’ pile, a wheelbarrow will come in handy for moving manageable loads around your yard. Another handy tool, while not necessary, is a tarp. It makes for an easy dump and an even easier clean-up. If you’re needing any of these items, check out our online shop and we’ll help you get started.

Does dyed mulch require special steps?

If you’re using dyed mulch, it’s best to wait and have it delivered on a dry day, or plan to cover the pile with a tarp. Due to the process of adding dye, colored mulches need a chance to dry in the mulch bed before they are colorfast. We recommend allowing at least 24 hours of dry, sunny weather to ensure the dye completely dries. And be sure not to store dyed mulch on concrete surfaces as it can stain - another way a tarp comes in handy.

What’s the best depth?

This can vary depending on the type of mulch you use and of course your preference, but a good guideline is about two to three inches. Any deeper just isn’t necessary - you can tell your wife the mulch master general said so.

How much mulch is needed around plants and shrubs?

Mulch is great for your beds, but it’s important to use it properly. Keep the mulch at least an inch away from the base of trees and other shrubbery - they need a little space to breathe. Mulch doesn't need to touch the plants themselves and is usually best if it doesn't. This can allow just a bit more moisture and sunlight down into the roots, promoting better growth. And in that same vein, you should also keep about an inch of space in between the mulch and the foundation, especially if there’s wood down there.

What’s the difference between GreenCycle mulch and other mulch?

In short, it’s better. GreenCycle Hardwood mulch is made from organic, recycled materials (like brush, limbs, and yard waste) and untreated recycled lumber (like wood pallets) for red and 4-H mulch. We also maintain our own equipment and control the entire process from start to finish. So you know you’re always getting the highest quality.

What services does GreenCycle provide?

We’re the mulch experts. But we also provide soil and decorative stone for all your landscaping needs. we also have a stone calculator on our website as it differs from the mulch calculations. Find the product you want, place your order, and we’ll dump it in your driveway. Beyond that, you’re on your own. You’ll take care of the spreading and everything else in between. 

And because we care about our planet, GreenCycle will also drop-off your clean wood waste, shrubbery, grass, leaves, brush, and other recyclable materials. For a full list, see our waste pick-up policy. residential drop off from Christmas Trees to spring and fall clean up to the bagged grasses from the summer mowing, 52 weeks a year

When should I put mulch down?

There’s not an exact science to it - you can put mulch down whenever you get around to it. However, we find that typically it’s best to put mulch down before the plants and weeds start to come up. Ideal time is early spring to help keep moisture in for young plants and prevent excessive weed growth. But make sure the soil temperature has risen enough so not to trap in cold soil under the mulch. 

However, if you don’t get around to it in the spring, in cold weather areas like Indiana, mulching in the fall can help protect plants and roots from being damaged in the freezing temps. A fresh layer of mulch during the winter months adds color and crisp edges to your home while all the vegetation is dormant.

Does mulch prevent weeds?

Mulch can be used as a natural weed barrier. A thick layer - about two to three inches - will keep most weed seeds from sprouting. It also blocks most sunlight, further limiting their growth. Now if you really hate those pesky weeds, you can also put down a pre-emergent underneath the mulch. (or on top)(cutting your grass, wind blowing and birds doing their thing will all carry seeds to your mulch beds)

Is GreenCycle mulch organic?

Yes. For more than twenty years, we’ve been in the business of sustainable, renewable practices and resources. We proudly manufacture and produce all of our own mulches, composts, and soil blends for consumer and commercial use from organic materials including recycled yard, wood, and food waste. We believe the ingredients for superior landscaping products can be found in our own backyards.

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