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Pat Sullivan: The right way to mulch

Now is the time to refresh the mulch around trees and landscape beds.

INDIANAPOLIS — It's that time of year when bulbs are blooming and perennials are poking out of flower beds.

That also means it's time to refresh the mulch around trees and landscape beds.

Rather than buy and lug bags home from the garden center, many people are ordering mulch in bulk for delivery to their driveways and patios.

"The problem with bulk," according to Pat Sullivan from Sullivan Hardware and Garden, "is you have to know how much to get." 

People who order more than they need wind up looking to clear the pile off their driveway and wind up over mulching just to use up the extra supply.

Sullivan recommends spreading mulch to a 2-inch depth, which equates to covering 162 square feet if you order one cubic yard of mulch.

Regular hardwood mulch is the most popular for bulk delivery. 

Sullivan said triple-ground mulch is finer but decomposes more quickly.

In the 1980s, Sullivan said cypress mulch was very popular, "We still sell some of it...people don't like the color as much as they used to." 

The advantage of cypress is its staying power. It will not decompose.

Large bark lasts longer, as well.

Sullivan prefers dyed mulch, which comes in a variety of colors. It fades over time but can be sprayed with a vegetable-based dye to restore its color.

Before spreading mulch, Sullivan recommends shaking some granules of Preen to retard weed growth in your beds. Landscape paper will also serve that purpose but you will need to cut holes if you buy new plants.

Around trees, avoid piling mulch against the trunk because it will hurt the health of the tree.

Watch Pat's full Sunrise segment in the video player.

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