How to Make Bark Mulch

Bark mulch can be used to prevent weed growth and retain soil moisture during dry periods. It also protects the soil from heat and cold in extreme climates. Landscape mulch is easy to spread in your garden, and, although it is relatively cheap to buy, is simple to create at home, provided that you have the right equipment and materials.

Mulch consists of finely chopped pieces of tree branches, bark, rubber pieces or other wood products. By spreading mulch on top of exposed soil, you protect the quality of the soil and discourage excess growth, particularly of undesirable plants like weeds.

To make bark mulch for your garden at home, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Purchase a Shredder or Chipper

In order to make mulch at home, you must have a small garden shredder or chipper. These machines are available for sale at home improvement stores as well as for rent at landscaping centers. A large or industrial-sized shredder is unnecessary, and may be dangerous and unwieldy for home use.

Step 2: Collect Yard Debris

Gather up small pieces of wood, tree branches, bark and other plant material for your mulch. You may need to adjust the amount of material you gather based on how finely you will shred the wood pieces and how much area you plan to cover. Generally, collect enough debris to be able to spread a layer of mulch about 3 inches thick.

Step 3: Shred the Debris

Carefully and slowly dump the pieces of wood and bark into the shredder as it is running. Use a large bucket or wheelbarrow to collect the shredded debris in order to minimize cleaning time. You should always wear protective gloves and eyewear while operating a shredding machine, and be very careful to keep hands and other body parts away from the input. Children should not be allowed to operate the shredder.

Step 4: Reshred the Debris

If you would like a finer mulch that is easier to spread, feed the shredded debris through the shredder a second time. Collect it in a bucket or wheelbarrow once again.

Step 5: Clear the Area for Spreading

Remove any excess plant material and weeds from the area that you will cover with bark mulch. Leaving weeds underneath mulch decreases the effectiveness of bark mulch as a weed treatment.

Step 6: Spread the Mulch

Spread the bark mulch in an even layer around the base of trees and over exposed soil. Be careful not to cover any trunks or young plants, as this will inhibit their growth. Use a rake to spread the bark mulch evenly.

Bark mulch is cheap to create, easy to spread and good for the environment. It can help to protect your garden against pest plants and weather damage, and it helps to clean up and reuse plant waste without polluting. Use bark mulch in your yard or garden to beautify your home and landscape.