Fresh mulch improves the appearance and the health of your hedges.

How to Lay Mulch As a Border for Hedge

by Jenny Harrington

A border of well-mulched soil can give your hedge a formal and finished appearance. As an added benefit, that attractive mulch will also improve the health of the shrubs within the hedge. Mulch conserves soil moisture which minimizes watering needs. It also reduces weed growth and insulates the soil against rapid temperature fluctuations. Natural mulching materials, such as pine straw or wood bark, work best as an ornamental and useful hedge border mulch.

Pull all weeds and grass growing around the hedge prior to mulch. Clean the area covering the entire root zone of the hedge, which usually extends out to the outermost branches of the shrub canopy above.

Dig a 3- to 4-inch deep trench along the outer edge of the hedge to create a border. The trench prevents lawn grass from invading the hedge border while also helping to keep the mulch from blowing out of the bed.

Spread the mulch over the cleared soil in a 2-inch-deep layer. Reduce the depth of the mulch near the edge of the bed so it tapers toward the perimeter, which helps prevent the mulch from spreading beyond the borders of the hedge.

Pull the mulch back from the trunks of the shrubs in the hedge, leaving a 2-inch space between mulch and wood. Mulch that rests against the trunk can cause rot or pest problems.

Replenish the layer of mulch around the hedges once or twice yearly in spring or fall. Frequency of replacement depends on how quickly the mulch decomposes. Add enough new mulch to maintain the 2-inch depth.

Items you will need

  • Spade


  • Rodents may bed in the mulch and chew on the bark of the shrub trunks. Wrapping a sheet of 1/2-inch mesh hardware cloth around the bottom of each trunk prevents this problem.

About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images