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  1. The answer depends on the type of mulch being used. Fine-textured mulches such as grass clippings and aged sawdust can suffocate plant roots if applied too thickly. Coarse-textured mulches such as bark chips create nooks and crannies for good air flow. As such you need a thicker layer when applying these type of mulches. A good rule of thumb is 1 to 2 inches for fine-textured mulch material; 2 to 3 inches for medium-textured mulches; and 3 to 4 inches for mulches with a coarser texture. Mulch for winter protection can go on a bit deeper in colder areas of the country. And don't forget to give woody plants a mulch-free ring around the trunks and branches; about 2 feet in diameter for trees; 2 to 3 inches away from the stems of woody plants; and 3 to 6 inches away from shrubs.

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