Applying a 2-3 inch layer of mulch anywhere in your garden will help to reduce weeds and conserve water. This depth allows mulch to do its job but not be so thick that plants develop shallow root systems.
Mulch trees and shrubs in an even 2-3 inch layer starting 3-6 inches from the trunk to the ‘drip line’ in a large circle. Packing mulch around tree trunks can damage bark by keeping it wet and allowing mold and bacteria to grow.
Apply mulch twice a year in the spring and fall. In the spring, once the ground has thawed to help reduce weeds and retain moisture. Mulching in the fall just before or just after the ground freezes will help insulate plants going into dormancy from the harsh cold.
Use woody mulch for perennial beds for long-term soil nutrients and mulch that breaks down faster in vegetable and annual gardens that get turned over more often.