How To Make Your Own Landscape & Garden Mulch

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This article provides tips and suggestions for how to make your own landscape or garden mulch
by Wanda Haby · All Zones · Tools and Equipment · 1 Comments · March 30, 2012 · 6,999 views

You can find some excellent articles about mulching your landscaped area, but what about an article justifying acquiring a new toy to do it yourself?!! Here are some talking points to help convince either yourself or your partner you need your own personal wood chipper/shredder!

Do you have lots of branches, smaller diameter broken tree limbs and general pruning debris this spring? Need a new “toy” for your landscaping and gardening arsenal? I give you permission to obtain a wood chipper/shredder – but only if you read the safety instructions, wear appropriate safety gear, and follow the rules for self-preservation!! You can find this cool tool at many stores that carry tools or home improvement supplies or at rental centers that carry outdoor equipment and machinery. There are many advantages to creating your own mulch and conversely disadvantages to keep in mind before you begin shopping for your own chipper. Here’s a handy list to help sell your idea and hopefully get a new toy!

Concerns and disadvantages:

  1. Check your pruning debris before shredding. Look over any potential shredable debris for any pests, disease or even seeds that can miraculously regenerate where you don’t want them to appear. If you don’t check – you could be spreading bugs or disease to other parts of your beautiful landscape.
  2. Do not add scrap lumber to your shredding. Some lumber is treated, painted, etc., and you don’t want to mulch boards treated with preservatives that can harm the soil when it breaks down.
  3. High use – maintenance required. If you intend to use the tool often, prepare to have the blades sharpened or even replaced. It’s still cheaper to have your own chipper and perform simple maintenance then rent one or purchase bags or truckloads of mulch!

Advantages of creating your own wood mulch:

  1. Promotes recycling: You can recycle pruning debris instead of burning or sending through to a dump.
  2. Reduces watering. Wood mulch will reduce the amount of watering for your plants and helps to retain moisture otherwise lost through evaporation if you did not have mulch.
  3. Decreases weeds. Mulch decreases the amount of weeds and makes it easier to pull those nasty little beasts out of the soil.
  4. Saves money. Saves quite a bit of money when you make your own verses buying lots of bags or even a yard or more of mulch!
  5. Creates choices/creativity. You can get quite creative with your mulching projects. If you like finer mulch just put the chips back through the grinder for an additional grinding or two. If you want aromatic chips, try adding some cedar or cedar chips into the second grinding. If you want nice uniform mulch, make sure you remove any leaves and other non branch debris. You can even throw in your lawn clippings and other leaves if you want compost type mulch.

Most important – be safe and good luck with your acquisition!


Thulani · Gardenality Seedling · Zone 9A · 20° to 25° F
I started doing this with my pot plants, instead of throwing away the 'dead' leaves/stems I just throw them in the pot plant. Didn't know you could do that with your entire garden. Nice!

7 years ago ·
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