I am a professional gardener. The one question my customers ask, that I cannot answer...and am curious myself....is "where does the mulch go every year?" The obvious answer is that it decomposes into the soil. But this isn't so in most cases I see, including in my yard. I know what decomposing mulch looks like. I know people who do have decomposing mulch. Yet most yards, including mine, don't have mulch hang around long enough to decompose. It just goes away. Three inch thick layers of mulch are gone...and all that's left every spring is bare ground where once was 3 inches of mulch (or leaves....same applies to leaves that I spread in some yards....thickly in the fall...including mine). It isn't wind or water or slopes and gravity. These yards that puzzle me have all the ideal conditions to trap and hold mulch exactly where it is put. No forces of nature would exist to carry the mulch away. Can you answer this puzzle? (I have looked online. There are many people puzzled about the same thing. What gets said, and I use the same analogy, is that it goes where socks go in the dryer).
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Well, I too wonder each year!
I can tell you that a great deal of the mulch or at least half works into the underlying soil.
Last year I lost most of it to heavy rains and found huge piles at the end of my 1/4 mile long driveway!
Organic mulches do began to break down and simply--disappear.
I have a garden friend that swears someone comes in the night and steals it!!
No, you are certainly not alone in wondering where the mulch goes!