Best Practices for Adding and Replacing Mulch

Unfortunately, mulch is not made to last indefinitely. Sun, snow, and rain will eventually break it down. If you haven’t done so already, it’s time to replenish last year’s mulch. You should always remove old mulch and replace it with fresh mulch. Adding mulch is a great way to prevent weeds from growing, keep your soil moist, and reduce erosion. But using too much or too little mulch in your garden or yard can be counterproductive.

Person wearing garden gloves adding mulch to a flower bed.

How much you need to replace your garden mulch depends on several factors, including what kind of mulch you used last year, the weather during that year, and the type of soil you have in your garden.

Read on to learn when it’s appropriate to add new mulch and if you need to replenish your existing mulch.


How Deep Should Mulch Be?

The perfect depth of mulch to smother those pesky weeds is about 8 centimetres.

When you notice that your garden mulch is beginning to deteriorate, or you can see the original soil peeking through, it’s time to add more mulch.

Here are some signs that your mulch isn’t deep enough:

  • Weeds are beginning to pop through your mulch.
  • The mulch is uneven, and some areas have more than others.
  • The ground is dry and lacks moisture.

For most areas, mulch should be replenished every season. If you didn’t add fresh mulch last season, it’s definitely time for a mulch refresh.


Does Old Mulch Need to Be Removed?

The short answer is yes; you should always remove old mulch and replace it with fresh mulch. To know how often to replace mulch, keep in mind that mulch should be refreshed every growing season. If you’re planting new growth, you should always start with fresh mulch. When your garden soil begins to dry out, this is the perfect time to replace your mulch. The time period could vary depending on where you live. But most of the time, mid-spring to early May is when the warmer temperatures hit, and moisture begins to leave your soil rapidly.

Here are some tips for replacing old mulch:

  • Make sure the soil is free of weeds before replenishing the mulch. This ensures that your new mulch prevents any weed seeds from getting through.
  • Don’t apply mulch on the base of your house or at the base of trees. Most of the time, you’ll need to leave a few inches of room between buildings, shrubs, and trees. Too much mulch close to structures can trap moisture and attract insects.
  • Measure your garden area before ordering mulch. It’s easy to order too much or too little. So be sure to know how much you need before ordering.
  • Water your plants after replacing the mulch. Removing old mulch takes away moisture from your plants. Be sure to water any plants after you apply new mulch.
  • Rake up your new mulch every 3-4 months. Raking mulch helps keep it looking fresh.

Related Topic: What Does Mulch Do?


Need Help with Mulch and Other Landscaping?

Putting down and maintaining mulch can be quite a time-consuming job. Making sure the rest of your landscaping looks good can be even more challenging. Whether you need help with mulch or your entire property, your local landscape experts at The Grounds Guys can help. We offer a variety of landscape services designed to keep your property looking its best, which gives you more free time to do the things you enjoy. To get started, give us a call at (888) 972-8063 or request a job estimate online today.