The What, When, and How of Mulch

Even though Green Pro has been out of the mulching business for several years, we still get many of the same questions relating to mulch.  Questions like “What kind of mulch should I use?  When should I put it down?  How should I go about getting it installed?”  Before we get started you should remember that mulching an area is meant to protect, insulate and beautify the area.  Since this can be accomplished using several different products, methods, and strategies, we’re here to help. Finally, let’s get to it.


First let’s tackle the “What” of Mulch.  “What are the different types of mulches?”  You have two main choices to start this process, Organic and traditional mulch.  Because there is no right or wrong choice here,  it’s a matter of preference, cost, and desirability for your project.

Organic Mulches include:

  • Compost
  • Bark (Cedar, Native, Dyed color wood products)
  • Pine Needles
  • Grass Clippings

Traditional Mulches include:

  • Stone Materials (pebbles, gravel, rock)
  • Geotextile:  Synthetic materials formed into sheets or tree rings
  • Rubber:  Recycled tire ground product


Mulch Types



Organic Mulch

– Low Cost

– Locally Available

– Native Look and Feel

– Good source of Organic material for your soil

– Will breakdown and needs to be replenished often

– Colored and dyed mulch will fade and look washed out

– Not the most effective weed control unless installed thick

– The look may not be as attractive as stone or synthetic mulching materials

Traditional Mulch

– Great weed control

– Holds color much longer than Organic

– Nice neat look and feel for upscale projects

– Made from long lasting materials, replenish rarely

– High Cost

– No organic benefits to the soil

– Some Inorganic products are toxic to surrounding plants

– Not always locally available leads to extra shipping costs and time delays



When should I mulch is a much easier problem to solve.  Your timeframe will be different depending on the product you select for your job but a good rule of thumb is to install or add more mulch when you think it’s needed.  However, there is not a “bad” time of year to install or put down additional mulch, nor is there any rule that you can only freshen up your beds at the start of spring.  Also, if your landscape looks tired, the black color looks more like grey, or you are seeing more weeds than flowers, those are all good signs that you are in need of additional mulch.  To protect and insulate your garden or landscape area it is normally recommended to install or maintain a 3” depth of your area.  IN conclusion, that depth should eliminate weeds from germinating, keep the ground shaded from the heat of the sun and also keep the moisture in the soil instead of evaporating to the sky.



First of all, mulching flowerbeds, garden beds, and playground areas is not complicated but does require some work and the bigger the project the harder the work.  If you are a do-it-yourselfer, this would rank on the “easy” part of the scale but you should block out most of a day to complete it, or maybe two.  Due to competition between most lawn crews, keeping this cost down for these types of jobs is likely.  It is always recommended to get a quote from at least two different companies. Furthermore, if you choose to go it alone, almost all mulch yards will allow you to pick up the mulch at their site and most of them offer local delivery to your home.  Whether doing it yourself or hiring a company, it is recommended to pre-measure your areas to determine the amount of product you will need.  In addition, the chart below will help you determine how much you need to purchase and what type of job you should be expecting.



desired depth

3 cubic foot bag

2 cubic foot bag

1 cubic yard

1” deep

36 sq. ft.

24 sq. ft.

324 sq. ft.

2” deep

18 sq. ft.

12 sq. ft.

162 sq. ft.

3” deep

12 sq. ft.

8 sq. ft.

108 sq. ft.

4” deep

9 sq. ft.

6 sq. ft.

81 sq. ft.


How Much Mulch Do I Need?

To calculate how many cubic yards, use:

(LxW = Sq. Ft. x D (depth) = cubic feet

(cubic feet / 27 = cubic yards)


* 9  x “3 cubic foot bags” = 1 cubic yard

* 13.5 x “2 cubic foot bags” = 1 cubic yard

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Green Pro
23501 Cinco Ranch Blvd STE H120 #167
Katy, Texas 77494