When you head out to mulch a garden, prepare to break a sweat. Although labor-intensive, the garden task is worth the effort! Even though no method — short of hiring muscle — makes mulching less work, streamline your efforts by using the correct tools.
Mulch on Wheels
The mulch you use can be purchased in bags — an expensive option but suitable for small spaces — or loose mulch delivered by the cubic yard to your garden. Although carrying bagged mulch to a garden by hand is an option, it’s easier to drop it in a wheelbarrow or garden cart for transport. A wheelbarrow works best for transporting loose mulch.
A Point of Difference
A square-point shovel works best for moving mulch materials such as pebbles, wood chips, and sawdust. A pitchfork works well for loose straw mulch. If you want to move a pile of lightweight, fine mulch, such as pine needles or dry sawdust, then a large scoop shovel moves the most material the fastest.
Gloves, Dust, and Weeds
Wearing gloves while applying mulch will protect your hands. Heavy-duty leather or rubber-padded gloves offer the best protection. Thin, cloth gloves are better suited for planting annuals than moving mulch. If you work with a dusty or moldy mulch material, then wear a dust mask to protect your lungs.
A hoe is another useful tool to have on hand when putting down mulch. A garden bed should be weeded thoroughly before mulch is applied.
Landscape fabric put on the ground before mulch helps to suppress weeds. Mulch can be used alone for weed control, but landscape fabric provides extra protection.