Mulch is a perfect for dressing up your landscape and beautifying the area around your home or business--and simultaneously controlling weeds, pests, and soil erosion and maintaining soil nutrients. Mulch helps prevents moisture loss and is critical for those newly-planted trees and shrubs to survive through the dry summer months. Mulch also keeps the soil cool in the summer and stabilizes it in the winter.
One much-overlooked benefit is that mulch helps deter weeds. Weeds that practically need a stick of dynamite to be removed in tight soil can usually be easily plucked in a well-mulched bed. Pay attention to what landscapes catch your eye and which ones look most professional. Landscapes with plantings on raised beds with an application of fresh mulch are the ones that look the best and will impress your neighbors and by passers.
How Much Mulch Do I Need?
Buying mulch or topsoil can be a challenge when you don't know how much you need. It is fairly easy to figure how much mulch, dirt or topsoil is needed for an area. First, it is critical to know there are 27 cubic feet in a cubic yard. One cubic yard will cover a 324 square foot area with one inch of soil or mulch.
Step 1 - Determine the Square Footage.
Tip: Round your measurement to the nearest foot when measuring.
- Square or rectangle beds: Width x length = square footage
- Triangular beds: base width x height divided by 2 = square footage
- Circular beds: 3.14 x radius x radius = square footage
- Tip: The radius of a circle is the measurement from the center of the circle to the edge of the circle.
Step 2 - Calculating Cubic Feet for Bagged Mulch
- Multiply your square footage times your desired depth in inches and divide by 12 square feet, which is one cubic foot, one inch deep. This will tell you how many cubic feet you will need.
- Cubic Feet = square footage x desired depth(in inches) divided by 12.
Step 3 - Calculating Cubic Yards for Bulk Mulch
- Multiply your square footage times your desired depth in inches and divide by 324 square feet, which is one cubic yard, one inch deep. This will tell you how many cubic yards you will need.
- Cubic Yards = square footage x desired depth(in inches) divided by 324
- Taking the time to calculate the amount is worth the effort. Although a little extra mulch around the house can be useful but too much can be overwhelming.
- New planting beds require 2-3" of mulch to retard weeds and retain moisture.
- It's a good idea to top dress existing beds with 1-2" of mulch in the spring.
- You can protect perennials in the winter with 2" of mulch.
- Avoid piling mulch up against the trunk or stems of plants, as this can cause insect and disease issues.
Download our easy-to-use mulch calculator to determine how much mulch you need:
Esbenshade's Mulch Calculator