Wheelbarrow full of mulch in a yard.

Mulching Shrubs

Placing mulch around your shrubs is very important.  Mulch is applied to: provide even moisture for your plants; protect plants from heat and cold stress; help control weeds; and beautify beds and areas where the lawn is shaded out beneath the shrubs.

Generally, a mulch of 2 to 4 inches is sufficient.  Mulching materials such as shredded oak bark, pine bark nuggets, pine straw, and leaves work well.  We do not recommend grass clippings.  This green litter will act more like fresh compost than mulch.  Fresh compost will generate heat during the transformation process and older compost is very much like soil.  You can smother roots by adding more than 2 inches of soil under your shrubs.

Before applying mulch you can lay down a mesh cloth that will aid in weed control.  We do not recommend black plastic because it will eliminate the soil’s ability to breathe.  Remember air in the soil must be present for plants to utilize moisture.