General Tips for Applying Mulch to Your Landscape

Mulch is one of the most important tools available to a gardener and landscaper. This material helps slow down the evaporation of water from soil, keeps soil cool and shielded from the sun’s rays during the summer, and insulates plant roots during the cold winter. No matter whether you choose an organic or inorganic mulch for your landscaping features and garden area, there are best practices to follow when applying it. Here are a few general tips to keep in mind during your spring application.

Create a Buffer

When placed directly against plant stems or tree trunks, mulch may potentially do more harm than good. Because it retains moisture well, it may promote the development of tree and plant diseases and serve as a home for rodents hungry for your plants. Never apply mulch directly against tree trunks or plant crowns – make sure there is an adequate buffer in place.

Don’t Apply Too Much

Applying too much mulch can also create a lot of problems for your plants and trees. As mentioned above, since it retains moisture so well, too much mulch can keep your plant life too wet, promoting disease and rot. Your plants may also be deprived of an adequate level of oxygen necessary for proper growth. Additionally, if you choose a wood-based mulch, too much of it can cause it to undergo high-temperature decomposition, which leads to the mulch drying out and becoming a potential host for water-repellent fungi. Ensure that you apply layers no more than 1-3 inches thick.

Add a Nitrogen Source Before Applying Wood-Based Mulches

The microorganisms in soil that decompose wood-based mulches need nitrogen to survive, which may deprive your plants of this necessary nutrient. This is especially worrisome for the perennials and annuals in your garden. To avoid this potential outcome, apply a source of nitrogen to the soil lightly before adding mulch. Some good sources include urea, bloodmeal, and high-nitrogen fertilizers.


If you have a unique, personal landscaping project in mind, contact TDH Landscaping. We will work with you to combine your vision with our renowned expertise and experience to make it happen. We have been in business for over fifty years, and our goal is to give every landscape a curated touch while offering the knowledge to keep your residential outdoor area beautiful all year long. Give us a call today at 410-692-0050, send us an email at, or fill out our contact form here to get the process started. Keep up with our blog for more updates and helpful tips, and don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterestYoutube, and Houzz!

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