How to Make Your Own DIY Mulch

Date March 01, 2022

Author TreeNewal Staff

Gardening can be a great source of fun and happiness, but sometimes the price tags of supplies can put a damper on the joy. Mulching is a vital element of tending to a healthy garden and a perfect, simple opportunity for taking a customizable process into your own hands. Not only does mulch help to retain moisture in the soil, but it also helps to suppress weed growth and keep the soil temperature stable.

We at TreeNewal love a DIY project that saves you money and also can utilize recyclable materials. Here’s our complete guide to making your own DIY mulch!

Branches, Bark, and Even Pine Needles

Have bunches of fallen branches or pine needles needed to be cleared away? Maybe some little animals have led to bits of peeled bark being scattered around your yard? Here’s a great use for them free of charge!

Even if these materials need to be combined with another from this list, they’re excellent for throwing (safely) into a woodchipper to create a 2-4 inch thick layer, depending on the density of the mulch, to cover your soil with!


If you’re someone who loves still getting a printed newspaper delivered, this is a great way to recycle your old papers (but no older than from 1990) without having to leave your house!

Tear up a stack of about 4 to 9 sheets of newspaper into small pieces. Run a little water over the paper with a watering can so that they will stay in place. Be sure to then finish with about a 2-inch thick layer of compost or grass so the paper retains sufficient moisture while out in the sun.


With just a few weeks of pruning season left to shake your trees of their remaining old leaves, why not turn those discarded leaves into an easy mulch? Chop em up by running your lawnmower over a spread of no more than 2 inches in thickness. You can also use your hedge trimmers if you prefer, but be sure the leaves are no bigger than about the width of a dime when you’re done.

Again, this can be combined with another mulch material but also is just fine all on its own!

Grass clippings

Grass-based mulch may be the most efficient mulch material but do come with some caveats. Be sure that your clippings aren’t coated in any pesticides and that they are dry. If the grass is too water-logged, it may prevent the soil from accessing proper oxygen.

Only a single inch of mulched grass is needed to sufficiently spread over the ground.


The best compost for mulching, you may be surprised to learn, isn’t fresh compost but that which has aged a bit into more of a blackened dirt-like matter. Any noxious smell should be largely gone once the compost has reached that ideal stage for use in your yard. Simply layer about 2 to 4 inches of your compost over your trees’ root systems, and that’s it!


Even the DFW suburbs share characteristics with the more rural parts of Texas, and maybe you’ve got some bundles of straw on your property or otherwise access to some – straw can come pretty cheap, or at least much cheaper than premade mulch from the store!

When you’ve undone the ties around the bale, take a shovel to separate the straw until it’s easy to spread around. Keep the thickness of the layer under 5 inches at most and make sure the soil underneath is no longer visible. Avoid placing the straw mulch right at the base of the tree and instead place it about 2 inches out.

Mulching is an important part of gardening, and it’s easy to do yourself with a few simple ingredients. There are many different types of mulch materials that you can use, but if you want to save money and maybe have a little fun in the process, why not try making your own? If you need some help getting started or would like more information about mulching techniques and best practices, give us a call today to keep your garden healthy and looking great!

If you need help with properly mulching the trees in your yard, get in touch with the ISA-certified arborists at TreeNewal and enjoy tailored tree care advice.


To learn more about How to Make Your Own DIY Mulch, call our Argyle and Southlake-based teams

at tel:(817) 592-6846 or send us a message.

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