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Native Plant Guide

Information and Services for King County, Washington

How to sheet mulch

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Why Mulch?

Money Saver: Hey big spender! Line your wallet by lining your yard with sheet mulch. Keeping up the perfect lawn is a costly business; the water, fertilizers, and upkeep are expensive and time consuming. This is a great time to reuse materials like cardboard and edging materials like stone, etc.

Lower Maintenance: Once mulch has been installed properly and your plants are established, you can forget about constant tilling, weeding, or lengthy watering. In a few years, you may need to replenish the top layer of mulch as it naturally decomposes. Although the smothered weeds will die, you will still be pulling some weeds that grow in the mulch. Woody mulches are less prone to new weeds than compost. You will be amazed at how easy it is to pull weeds out of a mulched bed.

Family and Pet Safe: Why put something on your lawn that you wouldn't want on you and your family's bodies? Whatever is outside eventually comes inside the home, so using natural mulch is an opportunity to protect your family and pets. Because sheet mulching does not involve any toxic substances, you can enjoy your yard without worrying about your loved ones.

Healthy soil: A mulched bed is full of nutrients that can encourage healthy plant growth by feeding the good bugs in the soil. These soil creatures than feed your plants. The natural decomposition of your mulching materials will slowly release much-needed nutrients to your plants without the use of chemical fertilizers.

Aesthetic: Unlike grass which looks shabby after a dry-spell, mulch is beautiful regardless of the season. Many materials used for mulch like wood chips are naturally uniform and attractive.

Before You Start -Sheet mulching is appropriate for areas without much foot traffic; too much walking on it and the cardboard will break down too fast, allowing weeds to potentially grow through.
-Sheet mulching has limited success on uneven soil. Weeds are likely to penetrate cardboard if it is not laid flat.

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