‘Scavenged’ cardboard boxes make an ideal weed barrier. They can be found at appliance stores or bike shops.
Sheet Mulch Catalog
B-flute cardboard rolls work well for covering large lawns. Comes in 1,000 square foot rolls, available in bulk from vendors in the Marketplace.
Arbor mulch works great for lawn conversions and can be made from many kinds of trees. Available in bulk from vendors in the Marketplace.
Made from used pallets or used lumber, this mulch breaks down slowly and is recommended for pathways. Available in bulk from vendors in the Marketplace.
Made from chipped trees, brush, and other plant trimmings, this mulch provides nutrients to build healthy soil, but doesn't last as long as arbor mulch. Available from local tree trimmers.
Compost is plant and other organic matter that has gone through a decomposition process. It provides many valuable nutrients and improves soil structure. Available in bulk from vendors in the Marketplace.
Frequently Asked Questions about Sheet Mulching Materials
Why use recycled compost and mulch?
When you use recycled compost and mulch, you are closing the loop. The compost listed in the marketplace is made from plant trimmings and food scraps here in the Bay Area and the mulch is chipped from untreated wood pallets and tree trimmings. The waste generated is recycled into products that will feed nutrients back into your soil for planting perennials and edibles, as well as helping convert a lawn into a garden.
Isn’t all compost organic?
Not all compost is created equal. To ensure the compost does not include biosolids, we work with vendors who sell compost that has been certified by a third party. The three certifications to look for:
- OMRI listed products undergo review to ensure that they comply with national organic standards.
- CDFA – California Department of Food and Agriculture.
What is the best mulch to use for lawn conversion with sheet mulching?
The optimum mulch for lawn conversion is coarse recycled mulch – either pallet mulch from chipped pallets or arbor mulch from tree trimmings. Coarse mulch will prevent weeds and takes longer to decompose. We don’t recommend guerilla hair because it is forest product and can be a fire starter. Coarse mulch is also ideal for pathways. Finer mulch is better for edibles and raised beds applied in a thin layer – 1 inch or less. Fine mulches include straw, grape hulls, and compost.
Who makes the compost and chips the mulch?
The producers of the listed compost process food scraps and plant trimmings. The pallet mulch is chipped from untreated clean wood pallets and colored with vegetable based dyes. The arbor mulch is chipped from trees.
The producers/brands for the marketplace compost and pallet mulch are:
- Earth Care – Waste Management
- Super Humus Compost and Pro-Chip Mulch – Republic Services
- Z-Best and Pro-Chip – Zanker
- Recology Organics
Are tree trimmings okay to use as mulch?
Tree trimmings are a good recycled mulch option and you can often get them for free from local arborists. Please note that the tree trimmers will drop a full load – up to 20 cubic yards and the availability of this mulch is seasonal. Make sure to ask about the source of the tree trimmings, do not accept any diseased tree trimmings, and avoid Euculyptus and Black Walnut. If you can't find a good source of tree trimmings, several vendors on the marketplace carry arbor mulch.
How much compost and mulch should I get?
For lawn conversion, we recommend 1.5 inches of compost, 3 inches of mulch and 2 layers of rolled cardboard. To specify to your own yard, use the materials calculator.
What is B flute cardboard and why is it listed?
B Flute cardboard comes in rolls (3-6 ft. wide) and is an ideal layer for sheet mulching to convert a lawn and/or suppress weeds. It’s thick enough to block sunlight from reaching grass or weeds. Rolls 3-4 feet wide are easiest to maneuver; larger rolls cover more ground faster, but usually take a team of 2 to carry and lay out.