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View Full Version : Trick of smoothing out mulch..


Matt Hermann
06-16-2010, 02:20 PM
What's your trick to making the mulch look extremly smooth and level? I found out that if you use the back of a leaf rake (those big maroon or green colored one, NOT the ones with metal tines, the hard plastic wide tines) you flip the rake over and use the back and smooth it out works extremly well....how about you? what do you guys do.....

Mark Oomkes
06-16-2010, 02:28 PM
http://www.superiorgroundcover.com/about.asp

Glenn Lawn Care
06-16-2010, 03:22 PM
i use the back of a hard rake and it works fine.

kylecal91
06-16-2010, 04:42 PM
a pitchfork is the only tool you need to mulch.

head_start
06-16-2010, 05:29 PM
i use the head of a hard tined rake (the garden style rake), just the head. i broke the rake and found out that using the end by hand works well.

Matt Hermann
06-16-2010, 05:45 PM
that's exactly what im talking about, the back of the rake. Someone actually broke the rake and discovered it that way, and showed me the trick too...

81Bronk36
06-16-2010, 08:18 PM
a pitchfork is the only tool you need to mulch.

Sorry , I would need to see proof of that to say I agree.

I use either a 28 or 36" landscape rake myself

93Chevy
06-16-2010, 08:23 PM
Depends on what's readily available...I generally dump, spread with hard rake, then smooth with a plastic leaf rake upside down...but sometimes I'll just spread and smooth with a pitchfork given certain circumstances.

dgw
06-16-2010, 08:27 PM
i handtoss

best results ive had

and yes weve hand tossed 40 yards and it goes quick

Matt Hermann
06-16-2010, 08:36 PM
for handtoss you just grab handfulls? that sound very time consuming compared to shoveling it out...

KyLawnscapes
06-16-2010, 11:08 PM
We use the plastic pitchfork that are usaully used to clean horse stalls. The you can scoop like a pitchfork and spread like a rake. They work better than anything Ive found and no black or brown hands at the end of the day.

hiringus
06-17-2010, 12:56 AM
I second the pitchfork is all you need. I have a 3/4 length with a big D handle and its perfect.

If its not perfectly smooth do a quick backpack blow to smooth out ridges

FYS777
06-17-2010, 01:02 AM
depends on what type of mulch, here if i tried to use a pitch fork it would all fall through the fork! and get laughed at if anybody saw me. :) metal spring rake, then use the back of it to smooth.

dgw
06-17-2010, 02:52 AM
for handtoss you just grab handfulls? that sound very time consuming compared to shoveling it out...

you would think, but its not . just drag the barrel along with you

unless its a very large open bed

head_start
06-17-2010, 01:09 PM
it depends i hand toss on the tight beds and around flowers, but when putting down large amounts of mulch in even relatively open areas, its back to the broken rake.

RakenShovel
06-17-2010, 01:17 PM
back side of a leaf rake works great because its lightweight to begin with and also the weight is distributed widely so you're not doing any digging.

jnt412
06-17-2010, 01:48 PM
We use pitch forks to spread/toss and to level out the lumps. For softer mulch, we just use a big shovel and level it with pitch forks.

FYS777
06-17-2010, 10:31 PM
We use pitch forks to spread/toss and to level out the lumps. For softer mulch, we just use a big shovel and level it with pitch forks.

what type of mulch???

mdlwn1
06-17-2010, 10:36 PM
i handtoss

best results ive had

and yes weve hand tossed 40 yards and it goes quick

Only method I use....surprised to hear it on here.

Darryl G
06-17-2010, 10:41 PM
I use the backside of a rake (the front side too sometimes) and then hit it with my backpack blower with one tube off....smooths out any small bumps, but you have to do it carefully.

dgw
06-18-2010, 06:00 AM
Only method I use....surprised to hear it on here.

much nicer results, not raking up the underneath crap, and no need to spend time trying to level it out


i started to think people were gonna think i was some kind of jerk for mentioning this method:laugh:

mr.q
06-18-2010, 12:44 PM
Buy a mulching fork, its bigger than a pitchfork and the tines are closer together. When you throw it you twist the fork a little and it spreads evenly. It takes practice to get it down good but it will eliminate the need to rake.

hackitdown
06-19-2010, 08:49 AM
Whether we apply by the handful in a tight perennial bed, or dump and rake a 10 cu/ft wheelbarrow load into a large empty bed, we still smooth it with the upside-down leaf rake. I used to smooth it by hand. But it looks better and smoother when we use the upside-down rake.

MileHigh
06-19-2010, 02:39 PM
I third the pitchfork.

dtriv89
06-19-2010, 03:24 PM
I use the backside of a rake (the front side too sometimes) and then hit it with my backpack blower with one tube off....smooths out any small bumps, but you have to do it carefully.

I thought I was the only one who did it that way, backside of a rake and blower on low throttle.

Darryl G
06-19-2010, 04:13 PM
I thought I was the only one who did it that way, backside of a rake and blower on low throttle.

I need to break out the blower anyway because I don't worry about being neat when i spread mulch. It's on the plants, the walk and maybe even the house. I usually just fling it. But the only way I know of getting it super smooth....all the little bumps just blow off.

Ric3077
06-19-2010, 04:26 PM
Iron rake held vertically as you rake is the only way to get it looking like glass

Darryl G
06-19-2010, 06:38 PM
One thing is that different mulches spread differently too. I use bark mulches a lot and because of the long strands it's a bit harder to get it smooth than something like hardwood or pine chips.

HighGrass
06-19-2010, 07:40 PM
We use the plastic pitchfork that are usaully used to clean horse stalls. The you can scoop like a pitchfork and spread like a rake. They work better than anything Ive found and no black or brown hands at the end of the day.
Otherwise known as a Manure Fork.;)

360ci
06-19-2010, 08:49 PM
i use the back of a hard rake and it works fine.

I agree. A metal bow rake works perfect.

mattfromNY
06-19-2010, 09:50 PM
Hand spread every bit of it. Dump in a pile w/ wheel barrel and spread the pile by hand in big/ open areas, or grab handfuls and spread tight areas/ between plants, etc. Had my fourth tractor trailer load delivered Thursday (80 yard loads). Its just the way I prefer to do it, I get too agravated w/ a rake catching on plants or 'flicking' the mulch back up onto the plants or the porch or the handle getting tangled up in tree branches, just simpler with a good pair of gloves.

jwsland
06-21-2010, 01:03 AM
Hardwood mulch. Pitchfork to spread it, backside of a plastic rake after its all down. It only takes 5-10 minutes to go over a fairly large house (10-20yrds mulch) and it'll get the mulch looking as smooth as glass. Use a quick sweep motion, the flexible plastic allows you to "flick" the mulch a tiny bit, enough to get it to lay flat. Only the larger open spaces need to be hit with the rake. I'm very good with a fork but your not going to get it as smooth as the raked finish imo. It may actually save you time raking at the end instead of trying to use the fork for perfection since it doesn't take long.

http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=320582

All touched up with a rake.