How To Lay Mulch Over Old Mulch

Wondering about renewing mulch for the upcoming season? But what if you already have mulch previously laid out?

Let me put your mind at ease. Yes, you can add new mulch over the existing one, but there are specific caveats to keep in mind.

Should I Remove Old Mulch?

This is the first and most crucial question many of us grapple with.

Surprise, surprise – the old mulch doesn’t necessarily have to be eliminated. Mulch gradually breaks down, enriching your soil with precious nutrients along the way. Thus, when you examine the old mulch, you’ll find it less dense than when you originally spread it.

If the mulch has a thickness of about 1″ and your goal is to maintain a 3″ depth, feel free to add 2″ of new mulch on top.

Besides, removing the old mulch isn’t a walk in the park. It involves intensive labor and is typically not worth the sweat and strain. Bonus, letting the old mulch be also saves you cash – you’ll need less of the more expensive new stuff!

Don’t forget; if your mulch comprises inorganic material like rocks or rubber, it will break down extremely slowly and thus will require refreshment less frequently.

Benefits Of Laying Fresh Mulch Over Old Mulch

As mulch ages, it tends to lose many of its benefits – think moisture retention, weed control, and soil temperature regulation. It could also allow excess water into the soil and lose its nutrient value as it decomposes.

Hence, it’s crucial to give your garden a fresh layer of mulch now and then.

Here’s why:

  • Prevents soil erosion and runoff.
  • Protects plants from extreme temperatures and drought during the summer months.
  • Improves soil fertility by providing essential nutrients to the soil in the form of decomposing mulch material.
  • Reduces weeds by blocking light from reaching weed seeds in the soil, thus preventing their germination.

How To Lay Mulch Over Old Mulch

Once you’ve committed to rejuvenating your mulch layer, follow the steps I’ve outlined below. But before you dive in, remember:

  • Old mulch can often mat together, especially shredded varieties. If you notice this, rake through it to untangle, allowing the layer to breathe and facilitating water penetration to the soil below.
  • If there’s fungus on the mulch, either let it be or discard it. Fungi can benefit the soil, but they might also harm nearby plants. Opt for a gentle, natural fungicide if essential.

Now, you’re ready! Here’s what you need:

  • A rake for even spreading
  • Gardening gloves for protection
  • A wheelbarrow to transport the mulch

And now, the steps:

Step 1: Remove Debris: Clear away any debris or dead leaves atop the old mulch layer to ensure the fresh layer is clean and free from anything you don’t want there.

Step 2: Add the New Mulch: Evenly spread the fresh mulch layer over the old one. Be mindful of the overall thickness – it should hover around 2 to 3 inches.

Start mulching and experience the magic it brings to your garden!

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