Composting Mulch

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Backyard Composting:

Composting Mulch

With the changing of the season, gardeners are looking for mulch sources. The compost pile is a great place to look. Mulch material does not have to be finished compost. But you can also mulch with compost. Mulch is placed on top of the soil in gardens or around trees to suppress weeds, keep soil moist, keep plant roots cool in summer and warm in winter, and prevent soil from washing away or becoming hard. Yard wastes can be used as mulch and placed around plants in the garden or along paths and in play areas. The only cost for mulching is your time and effort and the pay back in beautiful flowers and plants is well worth the effort.

What You Need


  • For annual flower beds and vegetable gardens: lawn clippings or leaves from deciduous trees and shrubs
  • For trees and shrubs: wood chips, lawn clippings, sawdust, leaves from deciduous trees and shrubs, pine needles, manure
  • For pathways and play areas : wood chips or sawdust


  • shovel
  • wheel barrow
  • rake
  • work gloves

What to Do

  • Spread mulch in the garden, around the base of trees and on paths or play area. Rake it smooth.
  • Place mulch around the trees within the drip line. Mulching trees helps keep moisture in the soil and protects plants during cold weather. Be certain that you do not place mulch against the tree bark as this might encourage insects to damage the tree.

Special thanks to Bill Cochran, Associate Specialist
William A. Carney, Extension Associate
Louisiana State University Agricultural Center
Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service

Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality 602 N. Fifth Street Baton Rouge, LA 70802
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