1. Don’t Mix Mulch into Your Soil

    Mulch mixed into the soil damages the nutrient balance and causes difficulties in digging and weeding. Plus, in the process of decaying, it binds up the available nitrogen that could be going to the plants you want to grow.

  2. Keep Woody Mulches Out of Your Vegetable Patch

    Use cheap compost instead, which does a much better job of mulching than expensive decorative woody mulch, and it feeds the soil.

  3. Avoid Fresh Mulches

    Shredded brush, manure, or hay from pastures, hayfields may contain weed seeds, as well as herbicide residues that can kill your plants.

  4. Watch Out for Creeping Plants

    Plants that spread by creeping stems, particularly turf grasses such as Bermuda grass, are so vigorous, they’ll grow right under mulch, so use edging that runs above and below the ground.

  5. Get Rid of Weeds Before Mulching

    A good layer of mulch can smother small, young weeds, don’t expect it to magically eliminate well-established weeds.

  6. There’s Such a Thing as Too Much Mulch

    Plant roots need oxygen to survive, and a deep layer of mulch can limit the supply.

  7. Prevent Mulch from Touching Your House

    When mulch that touches your siding gets damp, it creates a path that termites and other pests can use to get to your home. You can use mulch against a concrete wall but keep it at least 6 inches away from any kind of wood.

  8. Don’t Make Mulch Volcanoes Around Trees

    While mulching around trees is a good idea, mounding it up against the trunk is not. That’s because it can keep the tree’s root collar too damp and cause it to rot.

  9. Avoid Using Dyed Mulch

    Natural dyes are okay, but sprayed-on colorants are full of toxins bad for pets and kids. They can leach into the soil and destroy beneficial microbes.