Do you know what a mulch calculator is? How do you measure the amount of mulch you should use for mulching? Before re-mulching, what should you do? What are the different types of mulch products available? Why is mulching important?
Mulch is sold in cubic yards. If the thickness of the mulch is 1 inch, an area of 324 square feet requires one cubic yard of mulch. To calculate the amount of mulch you need, input the depth of fill and the size of the landscaping area on the mulch calculator.
Mulch needed (cubic yards) = square footage × depth (inches) / 324
Bags of mulch = square footage × depth (feet) / bag size (cubic feet)
How to calculate the amount of mulch needed.
Find the length and width of a rectangular land or diameter for a circular land.
Calculate the area of the plot to be covered by mulch. For a rectangular land, you get the area by multiplying the length and width.
Determine the depth of the mulch layer.
Calculate the volume of the mulch needed by multiplying the depth of the mulch layer with the area.
A mulch calculator is used to obtain the volume of the required mulch.
There are two main types of mulches, synthetic and organic mulches. Wood by-products are mostly organic mulches, while shredded old tires are an example of synthetic mulch. Mulch 2 times a year, in the spring and fall. Use 3 inches of mulch. In the spring you mulch to suppress weed, maintain a consistent soil temperature, and conserve moisture. During the fall, we mulch to insulate the plants for winter. Depending on the tree size, remove grass within 3-10 feet from the tree base and apply the mulch. The mulch should not touch the tree trunk as it will hold moisture and cause rotting of the roots. The mulch should be in contact with the soil. Therefore, avoid using landscape fabric or plastic. It will prevent rainwater from reaching the soil and sediment runoff will increase. Get high-quality mulch to get the best results.
Before re-mulching, blow the beds out with a blower and remove the weeds on the bed. A blower helps remove any seedlings from the yard or trees. The old mulch should not be allowed to build up.
There are different types of mulch products in the market. They include:
- Organic mulches
It decomposes after some time providing the soil with nutrients and increasing the activity of beneficial soil microorganisms. The main disadvantage is that it can attract pests and termites. If they contain contaminants or weed seeds, it is detrimental to the soil.
- Leaf mulch
When the leaves of a deciduous tree are shredded, it is used as an organic mulch that provides your plants with nutrients and protects the soil. They are affordable, effective, and readily available mulch.
- They have to be collected and appropriately stored because the leaves will not always be there.
- They harbor pests.
- The circulation of adequate air and water in the soil is prevented if the leaves are not shredded properly.
- Wood mulch
When the organic mulches decompose, they provide the soil with nutrients and improve the soil structure. Wood mulch should be frequently replenished when compared to synthetic mulches. The different types of wood mulch include:
- Wood chips
- Bark chips
- Wood shavings
- An example is a double shredded hardwood mulch.
Grass clippings are collected and dried to form an organic mulch. They should be dried adequately to be used as mulch. If fresh grass clippings are used, it can lead to mold, trapping of heat, or plants damage. The decomposition of grass clipping returns high levels of nitrates to the soil. It also increases the activity of beneficial soil microorganisms.
- Synthetic mulches
It is not biodegradable. It is durable and more convenient. It does not require frequent replacement when compared to organic mulches. Synthetic mulches can leak harmful chemicals into the soil. This affects the activity of soil microorganisms. It benefits the soil through water retention, heat retention, and weed smothering. It is easy to maintain and readily available.
- Plastic mulches
It benefits the soil in the following ways:
- Increase water and heat retention.
- Prevent soil compaction.
- Smoother the weeds.
They do not decompose hence last longer. It should be replaced periodically. It makes the use of plastic mulches costly. Plastic mulches impact the environment negatively. It is not suitable for warm climates as plastic mulch can get too hot for specific plants. The plants are overwatered since these mulches prevent evaporation.
- Dyed mulches
Synthetic additives are used to color organic mulch to increase aesthetic value. They are available in many colors like red, brown, and black dyed mulches. It provides the soil with nutrients when they decompose.
- Rubber mulches
Recycled rubber is used to make this type of mulch. Moisture retention is improved and it helps to insulate the soil from heat. It destroys weeds by dehydrating weed seeds before they reach the soil. It does not enrich the soil with nutrients since they don’t decompose. It is a fire hazard when ignited and can lead to the release of toxic fumes.
Mulch products are essential because of the following:
- They help to conserve soil moisture.
- They help to suppress weed, eliminating the competition for water.
- They help to maintain a consistent soil temperature.
- They help to prevent sediment runoff and soil erosion.
The amount of mulch you apply is dependent on the mulch calculation you make. A mulch calculator ensures you don’t overestimate the amount of mulch you use. Mulch products help conserve soil moisture, suppress weed growth, maintain a consistent soil temperature, and prevent soil erosion. The different types of mulch products available are organic and synthetic mulches. Organic mulches comprise leaf, wood, and grass mulches. Plastic, rubber, and dyed mulches are examples of synthetic mulches.