Sunday, 11 March, 2001

Mulching Under the Trees

We've been wanting to put mulch around all of our many trees in order to retain moisture, cool the soil, and reduce the amount of grass that I have to mow.  Mulch is somewhat expensive, especially if you buy it in bags, but still not cheap in bulk when you consider how much we need.  A 3 cu. ft. bag of mulch at Home Depot will run a couple of bucks.  You can buy it in bulk (by the pickup load) for about $15 per yard (27 cu. ft.).  I figure we'll use at least 50 yards by the time we're done.  That's a lot of money for ground up trees.

Debra found out that tree services (those guys who come trim your trees or take out the dead stuff) are more than happy to drop their wood chips off in your driveway.  That beats them having to pay to dump a load at a disposal site.  So Friday I came home to a dump truck load of ground up trees sitting in the driveway.  Over the weekend (when it wasn't raining), Debra and I spread a bunch of the mulch out under some of our trees.  This takes longer than you might think, because we first mowed the grass very short (took hardly any time), and then covered the entire area with newsprint 10 sheets thick.  The newsprint is to prevent the grass from growing back up through the mulch.  The result is pretty impressive, especially after Debra lined it with some rocks from our pile.  But it's time consuming:  6 hours for 3 trees.  Multiply that by 30 trees...  The other problem is coming up with enough of the right sized rocks to line the mulch islands.  I'll probably end up picking through the rock piles at some of the construction sites nearby. 

We forgot to take before-and-after photos of the section we just finished.  I'll make a point to do that for the next section.