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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 510, Mount Airy, MD 21771

Fax: 301-829-0770


Landscape Supplies, Garden Center and Natural Stone Products


Recent Project



Mulch Calculator


How much mulch or amendment do I need?

Garden Size (sq. ft.): 
(See the Area Calculator if you're not sure about this)
click to calculate


You will need:
2-cubic-foot bags or
3-cubic-foot bags or
cubic feet or
cubic yards or
pickup truck loads (midsize)
NGA Provided by NationalGardening.com, the online publisher of the National Gardening Association



What is mulch? How much should you use?


Mulch is any material, organic or not, placed over the surface of soil. Gardeners like mulch for four important reasons.


  • moderates soil temperatures
  • conserves moisture
  • prevents weeds
  • dresses up the garden

There are many kinds of mulch. Popular ones include:

  • Stone. Heavy and expensive, but long lasting. Doesn't wash or blow away. Doesn't decompose so therefore doesn't improve soil. Apply 1 to 2 inches deep.
  • Grass clippings (from weed- and pesticide-free lawns). Free, but often contains weed seeds. Apply 1 to 2 inches deep.
  • Pine needles. Free if you're near a pine tree. Attractive. Apply 2 to 4 inches deep.
  • Seed-free straw. Almost always includes some weed seeds. Attractive and inexpensive. Lasts one season.
    Apply 4 inches deep.
  • Shredded bark. Attractive. Irregular pieces knit together to resist washing in rain and wind. Lasts at least 2 seasons. Apply 2 to 4 inches deep.
  • Chunk bark. Various sizes available. Apply 2 to 4 inches deep.

Mulch tips:

  • Avoid mulches greater than 4 inches deep. They might reduce air circulation into and through the soil.
  • Limit mulch thickness around soft-stemmed annuals and perennials to 2 or 3 inches.
  • Don't pile mulch around the main stem of a plant. Doing so might encourage the stem to rot.
  • Spread the mulch to cover the soil slightly beyond the plants canopy.
  • Don't use lightweight materials such as chunk bark in areas prone to flooding. They'll float and wash away.




Bulk soil amendments are similar to mulch, and in some cases, they are made of the same materials. The difference is that amendments are for mixing into the soil and then decomposing. Mulch is for laying on top of soil and decomposing slowly, if at all.


The best kind of soil amendment is compost that you either buy or make yourself. Composted agricultural by-products are available in many areas and make excellent soil amendment or mulch.


If you're making a new lawn, spread a 2-inch layer of compost over the soil and use a rotary tiller to cultivate it into the soil to a depth of about 6 inches. At this rate, you are adding 30 percent (by volume) organic matter to the soil.


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Area Calculator


How much area do you have?

Square or Rectangle
Length (feet)
Width (feet)
click to calculate



Diameter (feet)
click to calculate



Triangle (that includes a right or 90° angle)
Measure the length of the two sides that meet at the right angle
Side one (feet)
Side two (feet)
click to calculate
Area (Square feet): 
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