How to Apply Bark Dust

Spring has sprung! Want to give your yard an instant facelift? Or are you looking for a way to suppress weeds in your already picture-perfect yard? Bark dust is the answer. Proper application of bark dust will not only give your property a crisp, clean, manicured look, but it will also drastically reduce the amount of time spent weeding, watering and fighting pests.
Here’s a simple checklist to help you prepare your yard and apply bark dust properly:

Tools you need:

  • Gloves
  • Leaf rake for fine tuning
  • Hard rake for spreading
  • Wide faced flat shovel
  • Wheelbarrow

Key to Success: Prep the Site

prepare landscapingSite prep is key to proper bark dust application. The first step is to fix irrigation problems, if you have any. Then trim trees, bushes and shrubs, remove any leftover debris from the area (trimmings, leaves, or roots), pull all weeds, and apply pre-emergent, like Double O SPC, to help prevent future weeds. Prepping the area is the most crucial step to ensure your bark dust looks great and lasts as long as possible.

Create an edge for the bark. Use your shovel to carefully dig around the area to create a smooth continuous line. You can also create an edge by lining up stones to divide the dust from your lawn. Lawn edges should be fresh and clean before applying bark.

Buying Bark Dust
Don’t buy cheap bark—you don’t want the finished product to look like dirt! Purchase and use good-quality product from a company you trust. For those living in Oregon’s Santiam Canyon, we recommend Siegmund Landscape Supply for any landscaping supply needs; they are the only company we use. Siegmund delivers locally.

When it comes to what type of bark dust to use, it’s up to your personal preference. Hemlock is browner, more expensive (due to supply), and most known for being sliver-free; you’ll notice a difference when working with it. Fir is more red and used commonly because of its color; however the red is only temporary and after several months will look like hemlock. Fir also has a signature bark dust smell for the first few weeks after application.

Purchase enough mulch to cover the area with 1 to 2 inches for reapplication, or 3 to 4 inches for new application (no existing bark). To determine how much bark dust you need to purchase for your space, you can use an online calculator like the one found here.

Tips and Tricks for Application
Hart Property MaintenanceWhen the bark dust is delivered, or when you bring it home, have it dumped on a solid surface or tarp. This will make clean-up much easier when the project is finished.

Move the bark dust to the desired area with wheelbarrow loads. Then use your hard rake to spread these smaller piles of bark over the area in an even layer. As you need more, pour more in the area with your shovel. When the area has the desired amount of bark dust, use the leaf rake for any final fine tuning.

And voila! Your yard has an instant facelift and is better protected from the elements. Do you have any other tips or tricks you swear by when applying bark dust? We’d love to hear what works for you—let us know in the comments below.

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