There are some general tips for mulch installation that may benefit anyone, regardless of what type of mulch they are using. One of the most important things for a person to keep in mind before installing mulch is to clear the area to be mulched of any weeds or grass. If this is not done, it is likely that the mulch will not be as effective at preventing undesirable weed and grass growth in the planting areas. This can be done either by hand or with herbicide. A person who plans to use herbicide should check to make sure the brand used will not harm any vegetables or other plants nearby.
Another good tip for mulch installation is to determine the depth of mulch to apply depending on the soil drainage. In most cases, mulch is applied to a depth of about 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm). This amount is normally fine for areas with good drainage. Poor draining areas may benefit from a thinner layer of mulch, either right at 2 inches (5 cm) or slightly less. It is almost never considered a good idea to apply mulch to a depth exceeding 4 inches (10 cm). This is because thick layers of mulch could prevent a plant's roots from getting enough water and air.
Raking the mulch after applying it to the desired depth may also be a good idea because this might not only even out the layer, but it may also increase the amount of air circulation to the plants. Additionally, it is important for a person to check that there is plenty of room between the mulch and the base of the plant or tree. Mulch should never come in contact with the stems of plants or tree bark because it could promote the growth of mold, which could lead to rotting and other problems. As a general rule of thumb, there should typically be at least 2 inches (5 cm) of space between the base of a plant or tree and mulching material.
Mulch installation is also considered beneficial because it helps to protect plants and trees from the elements. In the summer when temperatures are very hot, it can help to lock in existing moisture and keep roots from drying out. During the cold winter months, mulch acts as a blanket, protecting delicate root systems from the cold air. Mulch installation might also be beneficial for keeping weeds at bay. When there is a thick layer of mulch around the base of a plant or tree, it tends to be harder for weeds to break through the layer and establish themselves. Mulch may also aid in keeping weed seeds from germinating by blocking out the sun's rays.