What are some guidelines for applying mulch?

Weed the area to be mulched before applying the mulch.

Spread mulch around any plant as far as the distance of its outmost branching (this is called the drip line) or cover an entire garden bed.

Mulch can be spread thickly if water is able to penetrate and if it does not smother the roots of the plant being mulched. Three inches of mulch is safe for any woody plant, and up to eight inches can be used for large trees.

Thick mulches are harmful to shallow-rooted plants such as rhododendrons and azaleas.

For any woody plant, apply mulch starting 3 to 4 inches away from the trunk to prevent mice from eating the bark.