Create a healthy, fresh-looking landscape for your home with your own homemade mulch. Easy maintenance, storage, appearance and beneficial nutrients for the landscape, are goals every homeowner and gardener seeks to achieve.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Grass and leaf rakes of various sizes
- Small utility tarps
- Large trash bags
- Black-and-white newspapers
- Plastic containers or trays
Stroll around your home inside and out to discover the type of mulch materials you have available. Examples of organic mulches are leaves, grass clippings and pine needles. Mulch prevents weed germination, insulates your plants in the winter and reduces soil temperatures in the summer.
After you mow the lawn, rake up the dry grass clippings, or use a grass catcher on your lawnmower to gather mulching materials. An evergreen tree that sheds its needles is another great source for mulch. Rake or shovel the needles into a pile and use a wheelbarrow to distribute them around your azaleas and hydrangeas.
Inorganic mulch, such as miscellaneous rocks or shells, can be used in flower beds. An empty container, like a bucket, is handy for collecting the objects you find around the yard.
Look inside your house too. Save those newspapers and recycle them. Use the black-and-white newsprint in layers or shred it in a paper shredder. Store shredded paper in plastic garbage bags or stack your newspapers flat in boxes or bins.
Store your organic and inorganic mulch where you can readily access it; this will encourage you to use the mulch throughout the garden and landscape. Use plastic bins or extra garbage containers to divide up the various mulches. Pile the dried leaves, grass clippings and pine needles separately, if you have room. Cover the mulch piles lightly with a utility tarp to keep them dry and in place until you distribute the mulch around your landscape. Mulch reduces the time you spend weeding, watering and fighting pests and improves the appearance of your garden. Compost is another type of mulch which can be beneficial to your garden; compost requires a few more steps beyond those needed for basic mulch.
Decide where to distribute the mulch. Use it to add texture and colour in your landscape. Make sure the soil is moist and warm before you apply the mulch; moist, warm soil more readily accepts the nutrients contained in the mulch.
You've Got Mulch!
Tips and warnings
- Ask your local newspaper office what types of inks they use. Most inks are soybean based now, which is preferred for the garden.
- Avoid stacking mounds of papers near gas-powered lawn equipment.
- Keep unused papers in a dry area to prevent mould and mildew problems.
- Wear a dust mask when you transport and unload your mulch to prevent dirt particles from irritating your throat or lungs.
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