Using the right mulch can help to conserve water, shield plant roots from temperature extremes, improve the soil, and discourage the growth of weeds. Decorative mulch can add color and texture to the space between plants. Applying mulch is a simple enough process, but it helps to know a few details to make the most of its benefits. Rockaway Garden Center (RGC) can supply and deliver mulch to your door, ask Jason for details.

  • Purpose:
  • Do you want mulch to control weeds? To cover a pathway? Or reduce evaporation? Each of these is a valid reason for using mulch and each way requires differences in the application. Rockaway Garden Center (RGC) can help you.
  • Availability: Can you use something you have in your yard, such as grass clippings or fallen leaves, or will you purchase a mulch from the Rockaway Garden Center (RGC)?
  • Permeability:
  • A layer of plastic sheeting may discourage weeds, but it will also discourage watering.
  • Biodegradability:
  • Do you want the mulch to break down and become part of the soil (bark, leaves, wood chips) or not (rock, plastic, rubber, tumbled glass)?
  • Appearance:
  • Is the mulch going to feature in a front landscape or simply cover your vegetable garden patch for the winter?
  • Prepare the area.
  • If there's anything you want to do in advance of mulching, Rockaway Garden Center can do it for you.
  • Pull weeds or cut them close to the ground, if you are mulching for weed control. While not strictly necessary, it will help the mulch, and anything under it, to lay flat, and it will slow down the weed growth. Remember, mulch prevents weed growth by stopping light from reaching weed seeds.Enrich the soil and dig the beds, if you plan to do so or have Rockaway Garden Center do it for you. Biodegradable mulch can break down into rich, loose soil without this preparation, but the break down of the mulch will take time .
  • Lay down anything you want under the mulch, such as landscaping fabric or plastic (remember plastic is not biodegradable). Try adding several layers of newspaper or cardboard (remove tape and labels first) if you'd like a biodegradable means of blocking weeds.
  • Install any borders or edges.
  • Obtain the mulch.
  • You can purchase mulch at Rockaway Garden Center and you may elect to have it delivered, or simply by volunteering to take neighbors' leaf piles or lawn waste.
  • You can purchase mulch in large bags from Rockaway Garden Center or if you need a large quantity, ask about buying in bulk and even having it delivered. And, of course, you can produce your own from your own garden waste.
  • Transport the mulch to wherever it's going
  • Rockaway Garden Center (RGC) will gladly help you load your car or you can ask Jason about home delivery. Once at home, use a wheelbarrow to ferry the mulch to where it will be applied. If you don't have a wheelbarrow, try partially filling a wheeled trash can or using a cart. For smaller quantities, a bucket or empty plant pot will do. Ask Jason abot having the Rockaway Garden Center mulch the area for you.
  • Add a generous thickness of mulch.
  • The depth of mulch is really important if you want to retain moisture and prevent weed growth. Aim for at least two to four inches of depth.
  • The one place you don't want mulch is right up against plant stems and tree trunks. Leave at least a little margin (four to six inches) for the plant to breathe, and to help prevent moisture-depletion or water-logging problems. Depending on your garden, you can use the mulch to create basins for water.
  • Spread the mulch with a rake as needed for an even layer.
  • Rather than layering it on top of it too much, try to put only about a 1½" thick layer of mulch down. Any more could be damaging, and any less won't be very helpful.
  • Pull back the mulch
  • from an area when you wish to plant something new.
  • Renew organic mulches every few years, as they break down and get spread around.
  • You can dig old mulch into the soil and let it finish decomposing, or you can simply spread new mulch over the old.
  • Use mulch to protect plants during the winter.
  • You can do this by pruning certain plants back and covering them entirely with mulch. The mulch provides insulation. Don't forget to remove the mulch in spring.


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