Create safer, cleaner, and healthier neighborhoods by planting trees in your yard, on your street, and in your parks, and schools.

DIY Mulching Party

Take care of the trees your neighborhood already has and create a DIY Mulching Party! Mulch helps conserve water, provides nutrients to the soil, and discourages weeds. Gather your neighbors and protect your existing trees together!

Follow these simple steps to create a DIY Mulching Party in your own community:

Gather your neighbors

  • Talk to your neighbors about the benefits of mulch. You can download and print this handout to provide more information.
  • Walk door to door, present at a neighborhood meeting, or use your neighborhood's favorite social media platform to connect with your neighbors

Identify an area of your neighborhood in need of mulch

  • All trees can benefit from mulch. Work with your neighbors to decide which location works best
  • Determine the number of trees while will be mulched (Goal: 10-30 trees per event)
  • Identify where the mulch will come from: pick up free mulch from SMUD, purchase mulch at a local retailer, ask a tree care company to drop it at your location (start by contacting Certified Arborists in your area)
  • Set date and time for your DIY Mulch Event

Mulching at homes in your neighborhood

  • Make a list of neighbors (including addresses) who would like to have their trees mulched
  • Note how many trees per house will be mulched

Mulching at a park or school

  • Determine who owns the property: school district, City, County, etc.
  • Contact the property owner for permission to mulch trees on the property
  • You may be able to team up with a program like Adopt-a-Park for extra resources and volunteers

Recruit Volunteers

  • Ask neighbors receiving mulch for their trees if they will help mulch others
  • This is a great volunteer opportunity for youth
  • Contact service clubs in your area
  • Be clear about the role volunteers will play during the event
  • Make plans to support your volunteers with training, safety, name tags, water, snacks, and lots of appreciation! 

Assemble Materials

  • Confirm your source of mulch
  • Consider necessary tools: wheelbarrows, buckets, work gloves, shovels, pitchforks, rakes
  • Other optional materials: water, cups, respiratory masks, protective eye goggles

Ongoing Supervision and Support during Event

  • Give an introduction to discuss the purpose of the event, introduce and thank partners and volunteers, and provide a brief safety talk
  • Encourage volunteers to work in small teams
  • Provide a mulching demonstration: spread mulch around the tree so it looks like a "fluffy doughnut," keep it 4 inches away from the trunk of the tree, pile it 6 inches thick, and try to spread it out to the drip line (the soil beneath the edge of the leaves) if possible.
  • Take pictures and encourage volunteers to post to social media
  • Have fun!
  • Thank everyone for their hard work

Post-Event Inspection

  • Thank all volunteers for participating
  • Celebrate your accomplishment
  • Ensure all tools are cleaned and returned to proper owner