Mulch is the multi-purpose solution to many problems in your landscape. Mulch suppresses weeds, slows evaporation and, as temperatures dip, it protects plants, shrubs and trees from harsh weather. Plus, like a just-made bed, a blanket of mulch makes a garden look tidy.
When you purchase mulch this fall, take inventory of your tools to make the job of spreading mulch easier.
Five of our favorite tools for mulching:
1. Garden Fork
Work with a garden fork like the Ames bedding fork above, or a digging fork to lift mulch and place it gently around flowers or wherever you need it.
You may want a scoop-shaped shovel too, especially for heavier mulches. This type works any time you need to transfer soil, sand or gravel, and in the winter when you need to clear a path through snow.
2. Wheelbarrow or garden cart
Streamline your mulch project when you use a wheelbarrow or yard cart to transport the mulch. When you work a large garden, investing in a dump cart to pull behind a tractor makes sense. Each will make the task of hauling mulch, bags of soil and new plants from one place to another easier.
Dump mulch in lots of small piles throughout the bed, rather than one big pile. Before opening bagged mulch, place the bags through the area, then proceed to open, dump and spread the mulch.
Spread mulch with a landscaping rake for even application. For heavy-duty needs, look for forged steel construction and a comfort grip handle.
4. gardening gloves
A good pair of gardening gloves will protect your hands as you spread mulch. Gardening gloves protect your hands while digging in the dirt, and help prevent cuts and blisters when clearing brush, toting wheelbarrows and using heavy equipment. Leather gloves offer the most protection, but a lighter weight pair gives you more control for planting and handling flowers.
5. Landscape Fabric
As a base for a new flower bed, landscape fabric gives added assurance that weeds will not sprout beneath the mulch. It also reduces soil erosion. When creating a new flower bed, apply a weed preventer first, then cut the weed barrier fabric to size before placing on the bed.