How to mulch...Do I remove old mulch first???

briejean(5)April 28, 2009

I'm kind of new at this. We had someone come and do our landscaping last year. This year, we decided to take care of the yard ourselves. Do we remove last year's mulch first before putting out new mulch, or do we just put it right on top?? We have one area that has weed fabric under the mulch and all the other areas the mulch is just on top of the dirt. Thanks!!

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joepyeweed(5b IL)

I pile new mulch on top of old mulch.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 8:29PM
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Same here. The old mulch will break down and add organic matter to your soil.

I pick up the old mulch that other people throw out. I got a truckload today. :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 10:28PM
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There is no real good reason to remove last years mulch to put new down, just spread the new mulch over the old. Some people will tell you that you need to because that old mulch may have some disease, something I have not seen.
An article in a recent issue of Organic Gardening magazine states that the research people at Texas A & M found that the "weed" blocker fabric can keep nutrients placed on top of the "weed" blocker fabric from getting into your soil.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 12:25PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

The only reason to remove old mulch is if it hasn't been able to decompose properly. Sometimes, and I have seen this with all kinds of organic materials, fungal mycelium and hyphae will form a slick mat above the soil surface, impeding the healthy interaction between the soil SYSTEM and the mulch/atmosphere.

Using too much mulch is often the cause, or using a material that tends to lay down in a dense mat.

Stir up the old mulch a bit to make sure that this isn't happening but then you can reapply material in order to achieve a depth of 2 to 4 inches.

By the way, it would be worth your time to get rid of the weed fabric.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 1:26PM
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We use weed fabric in one particular garden because the weeds are absolutely terrible. We had the dirt brought in when we put the garden in. It's elevated about 8-12" in comparison to the area surrounding. We've had actual trees grow out of this soil and too many weeds to keep up with, no matter how much mulch we've put down. The weed fabric has done a good job of keeping the weeds under control. The main thing I want to know is should I remove the mulch that is sitting on top of this weed fabric? I don't believe it's decomposing. The mulch that we have on top of soil in our other gardens is decomposing, so I can see putting mulch right on top of that. It's the garden that we have the weed fabric on, I'm not sure what to do. Thanks!!!

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 6:12PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

What kind of mulches do you use? Are your other gardens using a different mulch? I've found a great mulch that I can just mix in to the soil in spring, fine pine mulch. It is finer than pine nuggets or evern mini nuggets. Its good ol' fine stuff and mixes easily. If you remove any just remove if you had put down too much. A lot of times we put down a whole lot right around winter time to protect the plants over winter. You might just remove the top layer and add fresh. But dont add too much just a couple of inches.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 3:09PM
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ken_mce(zone 4, NY)

I always put new mulch on top of the old mulch.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 1:19PM
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new on old is the best way (again IMHO)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 6:39PM
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I mulch every other year so I just spread it on top of the previous year's mulch.If you're just topping it off an inch or so is about all you need.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 6:54PM
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