How to Make Bark Mulch

Mulch is a vital component of home gardens. It retains moisture and conditions the soil. Making bark mulch can be economically feasible if you have access to large amounts of bark and branches. Process the mulch a second time to obtain mulch that is easier to spread around plants and trees.

  1. Purchase or rent a garden shredder. These are also known as tree chippers. Tub grinders are larger pieces of equipment that can double and triple process mulch. These are found in commercial businesses and are not practical for home use.
  2. Gather small tree branches or pieces of bark from a large amount of wood. Any kind of bark can be used. Place a container or wheelbarrow under the output spout to catch the mulch.
  3. Turn on the shredder/chipper. Feed the bark and branches through the chute, taking care not to get any fingers into the chute. Wear gloves and eye gear for safety.
  4. Toss the chips through the shredder/chipper once again to double process the mulch. Double processed mulch is easier to apply around plants and trees and breaks down into the soil quicker than larger chips.
  5. Spread the mulch around plants, shrubs and trees, taking care not to get the mulch in contact with plant stems, shrub branches or tree trunks. Spread the mulch no more than three inches thick. Use a rake to spread the mulch uniformly.
  6. Store extra mulch in a pile that is protected from wind. A homemade, three-sided box provides excellent storage and protection for mulch.

Things You Will Need

  • Branches and bark
  • Shredder, chipper or tub grinder
  • Container or wheelbarrow
  • Rake
  • Eye protection gear


  • Using a wheelbarrow underneath the shredder/chipper makes it easy to transport the mulch for spreading.
  • Always wear gloves when handling mulch to avoid splinters.
  • Purchasing a shredder/chipper can be economically feasible with annual access to a large amount of bark and branches.


  • Wear gloves when handling the branches and bark.
  • Avoid making a "mountain" of mulch around plants, shrubs or trees. Constant contact with mulch can cause diseases and rot.

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