How Much Mulch?
The question of how much mulch to use should also be considered in the context of the type of mulch selected. Remember that each type of mulch has unique properties, which will interact with the plants. Once you select the type of mulch, you will also need to figure out how much to use.
Calculating Mulch Amounts
A mulch calculator is a handy tool for figuring out how much mulch to use. It provides blank fields where you can enter the length and width of the land in feet as well as the depth of the mulch, expressed in inches. For example, a 15 x 20’ garden (300 square feet of land), that is covered with mulch three inches thick, will require 2.78 cubic yards of mulch. One cubic yard is 27 cubic feet (3 x 3 x 3). So 2.78 cubic yards equals 75.06 cubic feet (2.78 x 27). This amount works out to around 38 bags of mulch with two cubic feet each. Certainly, smaller landscaping projects will require much less, but the calculator works the same.
Types of Mulch
Some academic studies cite the value of mulch in growing crops. The yield influence can be as high as 30 percent, for example. In the past, mulching used to be done using everyday materials. They could be made of either organic or inorganic materials. Examples of organic mulch included shredded tree bark, leaves, compost and decaying hay. Decorative stone, newspapers, and black plastic are inorganic mulch materials. Drawbacks include the weight of the material, which can be blown away by wind. This changes the decision for how much mulch to use, for example.
Mulch Selection Process, How Much Mulch
The amount of mulch used can prevent weeds from growing. For example, around four to six inches of mulch are required for weed prevention in a garden. However, the amount of mulch used won’t matter if you use the wrong type of mulch entirely. Many crops are sensitive to heat and water. Soil can be affected if the mulch absorbs nitrogen during the stage of decomposition. Gardeners should be concerned by the amount of mulch used for this reason; however, they also need to be aware of the properties of the mulch as well.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Clearly, mulch is valuable; however, too much of a good thing can become counter-productive. Find the right type of mulch because this is just as important as getting the amount right. An inch or two will normally prevent weed growth. Be careful of making mulching decisions based on landscaping aesthetics alone; over-mulching can also harm plants.