I had the good fortune to chase down a tree-trimming truck who deposited a couple of loads of chipped branches and leaves in my driveway. After several backbreaking weekends, Iíve redistributed the mulch around the house in a nice 12 inch deep raised bed design. We have heavy clay soil here, so I put down a good 8 layers of newspaper before dumping down the mulch.
Iím ready to plant my shrubs (got a few soft touch holly and an azalea) but now Iím not sure how to actually do the planting in all that mulch. Iím thinking to maybe just repot the shrubs in larger containers and then place the containers down in the mulch. Conversely, I could remove the mulch and newspaper from where the shrubs would go and dig down to loosen the native clay soil and then add more soil to actually plant the shrubs so the roots would be able to stretch out.
Acector...mulch is absolutely NOT a good planting medium. 2 to 4 inches of mulch is added after plants are placed in the ground. Wood mulch will not provide the nutrition or support for the plants, and as Belle said...new mulch is attractive to critters/bugs. I noticed you mentioned you had distributed the mulch around the house...if you are talking around the foundation, then the mulch should be at least 12 to 24 inches from the foundation. Lawn,weed block over bare dirt with decorative rock should be the only thing against the foundation as ants and termites will use that area to nest otherwise.
get yourself some peat moss, play sand, pea gravel and osmocote (thats a fertelizer) and till into your mulch if you want to plant in it. since you have mulch 12 inches deep, you will need 1 landscape sized bag of each of the peat, sand and gravel per 2-3 feet. into this, you will mix about 1/4 cup osmocote granules straight from the bottle. till it all together, spread your beds out or make new beds cuz ur gonna have way more than you need. if nothing else, put it into a pile about 4'x4'x4' and water it daily. this will create compost and you will end up with a lovely soil for next year. if you compost it tho, i would add some leaves and grass clippings into it too