So how – and how much – should you mulch your garden?

By Laura Longley

There’s more to mulch than a bag of wood chips.

Just ask Caroline Armstrong, a manager of her family’s Remington Mulch Company, one of the region’s largest manufacturers of mulch. “If you’re only familiar with the mulch at big box stores, think twice before buying there,” she advises. “You’ll find higher quality products at local nurseries and landscaping companies.”

But don’t wait too long to put in your order. “The spring season started super late for us this year, so it’s now very busy,” she explains. But you still have time to get the kind of mulch that can make a big difference in how your property looks and your garden grows.

Your choices are also considerably wider at companies like Remington. Caroline recommends double-shredded hardwood mulches—a finely ground mulch that trees and plant life love. Remington makes it by grinding wood once—called Single Grind—and letting that sit for a period until it is ready to be ground again. The second time around, the single grinds are shred in a “Diamond Z” tub grinder, which pummels wood at 1050 horsepower. 

“Having the right tool for the job is very important to our company’s success,” Caroline explains. “Our reliable and heavy-duty grinders help us stay ahead of the competition, and give us very good quality products.” Mulch sits in piles for two to four more months before it is sold, allowing it to become darker, richer, and finer as time passes. 

The Remington Mulch team out on a delivery: Caroline Armstrong, center, sister Katie, left; brother Trent, right.
The Remington Mulch team out on a delivery: Caroline Armstrong, center, sister Katie, left; brother Trent, right.

Remington also dyes mulches to create colorized brown, black, and red double-shredded mulch. To make it, natural double-shredded mulch is run through a machine that sprays the mulch with an eco-friendly colorant. The coloring machine spins the mulch in the colorant until it is coated all over the wood. This spinning and spraying motion, along with the use of high quality colorant from the industries’ leaders is what gives Remington’s colorized mulches their vibrant appeal and ability to hold color for up to 12 months. This process is done the same way every time, resulting in a consistent-looking colorized mulch product. After the coloring process is complete, the mulch is dropped onto a conveyor belt and moved to the appropriate location where it sits for at least a month, drying and soaking in the colorant. 

“Dyed brown is the most popular product because of its natural-looking color, and it does not fade as quickly as the product with no dye,” Caroline says. “Check to be sure that any dyed mulch you buy is all organic, all natural, with no chemicals.”

For mulching your garden bed for flowers, plants, and trees, Caroline recommends digging out old mulch until you get to the soil and spread the new mulch two or three inches thick. “Mulch is supposed to act as a sponge holding water in and keeping weeds out, so spreading it too thick or thin will defeat the purpose.”

For your vegetable garden, she recommends tilling compost into existing soil or using enriched topsoil. Remington’s topsoil is already enhanced with 20 percent compost. Consider it for top-dressing lawns especially after aerating. Just spread it a half inch thick over any area that needs seeding, watering, and grass grown.” 

Remington produces this high-quality soil and compost using large “trommel” screens to eliminate rocks, sticks, and other debris. The process leaves the soil and compost consistently clean and easy for you to spread. 

Prefer to just sit on your deck and admire your mulched garden? Caroline suggests asking your local Remington Mulch sales yard for some loyal contractors. “We love to refer business to other small businesses and contractors.” 

Remington Mulch Company serves retail and commercial customers throughout the region from plants and sales sites in Fairfax, Springfield, Gainesville, and near Brambleton in Loudoun County. For further information, call 703-560-2275, email RemingtonMulchSales@gmail.com, or visit remingtonmulch.com.

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