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Tips for Landscaping: How to Make Mulch

Posted by: Erika Green on December 3, 2015

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There are many benefits to using mulch in your yard, around walkways or in flower beds. Mulching is usually a springtime or warm weather task, but having the mulch in place can be beneficial to your garden during the cold winter months as well. Mulch insulates the soil, conserves moisture and provides a food source for earthworms, microbes and beneficial insects, making it useful year-round. So, how do you make your own mulch? We’ve got mulching tips to help you get started.

Making your own mulch is a sustainable practice that can save you money time and again. Anytime you have debris from a recent tree trimming or general pruning, it’s easy to make your own mulch out of the refuse.

So, let’s get started by following these reminders and easy mulching tips:

Step 1: Get what you need.

First, determine the materials you’ll use to make your own mulch. Common sources such as bark and wood fiber from tree limbs are always a great choice, but mulch can also be made from yard compost and freshly cut grass clippings.

Next is choosing the right chipper shredder for the job. Discover a variety of rental options available at your local The Home Depot store that are easy to maneuver and have user-friendly controls. When operating, follow the proper safety tips located in your operations manual and always wear eye, ear and foot protection.

Step 2: Convert the materials to mulch using the chipper.

At the time of your rental pickup or delivery, an associate will go over basic operating and safety procedures with you so that you’re familiar with how to properly use your rental, but you can always refer to the operations manual as well. Always feed the thicker part of the tree limbs or debris into the chipper first and stand to either side of the hopper. For shorter branches and limbs, be sure to use an extension to push them into the chipper such as a different, longer branch.

Watch how to properly use a chipper here.

For a more professional look, remove any leaves or small branches from the limbs before running them through the chipper. This will ensure a uniform look to the wood chips. Consider mixing your mulch with store-bought mulch if you’re short on volume. This can be an easy way to increase the bulk – or even add an aroma with cedar chips.

Step 3: Clean and clear desired area.

Before you begin spreading the mulch, it’s crucial to clean and clear the ground in which you plan to use. If needed, start by removing old mulch from the previous year so that the nutrients get to the soil faster.

It’s also important to pull out any weeds in the ground so these don’t become a headache for you later. You’ll want to begin with a space that’s relatively free of any thatch, old mulch, debris or weeds.

Step 4: Spread your mulch.

Apply roughly a 2- to 3-inch layer of mulch to your garden beds or desired area. When spreading, be mindful of trees and plants. Keep the mulch away from the base of trees or plants (don’t pile the mulch around the base of the tree or plant – keep it flat). A good guideline is to keep a mulch-free area of roughly 1 to 2 inches around plants, 3 to 4 inches around shrubs and 6 to 12 inches around trees.

Ready to get started making your own mulch? The Home Depot is your one-stop shop for mulching rentals and supplies.

Tags: chipper shredder, chipper, rent a chipper, mulch, types of mulch, equipment rental, landscaping, landscaping projects, diy landscaping