What Should I Do With Old Mulch?


If you’re diligent in caring for your annual flower beds and vegetable gardens, you’ve likely left a protective layer of mulch to protect the soil from Mother Nature over the long winter season. A mulch layer can help your soil retain the critical fertility you’ve built up across growing and dormant seasons alike and is one of our primary recommendations for winter care. However, what should you do with the old mulch lying atop your vegetable and annual gardens once spring arrives?

Lammon Brothers recommends the following steps regarding old mulch in your yard’s dormant areas:

Determine Its Condition

Before you can determine what to do with the faded mulch, you’ll need to see if it is still usable. Scoop some up in your hands and test it for any crumbling and flaking. If the mulch still looks and feels like mulch, you can reuse it.

RELATED ARTICLE: 8 Reasons to Use Mulch this Spring

Rake Healthy Mulch Aside

In the spring, tilling, or spading your garden is crucial to promoting healthy plant growth. To reuse your mulch, however, you’ll need to carefully rake it aside before tilling. Shovel it into a wheelbarrow or onto a tarp near your garden or flower bed for later use, add compost to your soil, and rototill or spade as usual.

Till Crumbling Mulch Into the Soil

If your old mulch is crumbling and largely indistinguishable from the soil around it, it won’t provide the protection mulch should offer your plants. If you’ve recently experienced disease in your flower or vegetable bed you think may be related to your old mulch, you’ll need to shovel it out and dispose of it. Otherwise, simply till it into the soil to add additional organic matter.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Homeowner’s Ultimate Guide to Mulch

Replace Mulch

Once tilling is complete, you can move last year’s healthy mulch back to the surface of your flower bed or vegetable garden. Alternatively, if you’ve had to till old and crumbling mulch into the soil, acquire a new load of mulch to replace it. Spread evenly over the surface for continued protection and preservation of soil fertility.


The process above can be completed in advance of planting season. When you’re ready, simply move a small area of your mulch layer aside to plant. With constant mulch protection, weeds will never have a chance to take root.

Maintaining your mulch cover is a relatively simple process provided you pay diligent attention to these steps. In most cases, you should be able to reuse mulch at least once before tilling it into the soil. Then, you’ll need to arrange for a new mulch delivery to continue to provide optimum protection for your flower beds and gardens.

For more information about mulching, and our bulk mulch delivery service, contact the experts at Lammon Brothers. We offer bulk mulch delivery throughout Toledo as well as a handy mulch calculator to help you determine your needs. Call (419) 825-5956 or request a quote online today.