Mulch is a terrific method to transform your yard and landscaping from drab to fab in a little amount of time and money. After you’ve spent time choosing the perfect plants, preparing flower beds, and planting seeds in your garden, adding mulch may really bring it all together.

When choosing mulch, keep in mind the areas you want to cover, as well as any family members or pets who will be in close proximity to the new addition to your landscaping. Some mulches are hazardous to pets, while others decompose quickly. Some mulch solutions persist for years, while others must be changed on a regular basis as they are worked into the soil.

Our top mulches picks

Rio Hamza Trading Pine Bark Mulch

Rio Hamza Trading Natural Pine Bark Mulch can be used in a range of landscaping and gardening applications. This little bag of mulch can be used to mulch around a single shrub or small garden plot. Mulching around terrarium plants providing a lovely contrast to plant foliage is one indoor use. In contrast to other organic mulch solutions, pine bark mulch looks fantastic even when spread to a larger area. The all-natural mulch comes in a resealable 4-quart bag that holds approximately 1 gallon of pine bark.

NuScape Rubber Mulch Nuggets

Rubber mulch is the way to go if you want a long-lasting mulch that won’t fade or decay. NuScape brown mulch resembles other wood-based mulches in appearance, but it is heavier, more robust, and manufactured entirely of recycled rubber. It also has a little bounce to it, making it an excellent choice for playgrounds or swing sets.

Rubber mulch is more expensive than its natural counterparts, but it lasts considerably longer. NuScape rubber mulch is a great option if you only want to lay down mulch once and enjoy it for years. Just be prepared to pay a greater price up front.

Natural Cedar Shavings by Four Winds Trading

Four Winds Trading Natural Cedar Shavings have a beautiful smell that will appeal to gardeners but not to pests. The cedar chips can help to keep your soil weed-free and moist while also freshening the air in your home or near a patio. The 8-quart bag is ideal for a small collection of pots, but these cedar shavings are also available in a larger 16-quart quantity.

Dewitt Natural Garden Weed Barrier Biodegradable Paper Mulch

This weed barrier cloth will keep only your preferred plants growing strong in a limited environment, such as a raised bed. If you wish, you can lay more mulch on top to provide weed control as well as the nice clean look of mulch. In a location where you truly want to keep weeds at bay, a mulch barrier is ideal.

This mulch acts as a physical barrier between your lovely garden and any weeds that may be sprouting in the soil. For your preferred plants to flourish, you will need to cut spots. Rainwater, on the other hand, has a hard time penetrating the paper, therefore extra water is required to keep your plants alive.

FibreDust Organic CoCo Mulch

The FibreDust CoCo mulch is made entirely of coconut husk, making it a natural and safe plant protection alternative. Its rust-like hue blends well in a variety of outdoor settings, so it has a lot of promise in terms of decorating your garden. Because this product expands when water is introduced, you can rely on its advanced moisture-retention features to keep your plants healthy.

After hydration, one single block of coconut husk mulch can expand to nearly 2 cubic feet of gardening medium, despite its modest look. When you use this form of mulch, you can take advantage of a number of wonderful advantages. The key highlights are the high amount of water retention and weed protection abilities. However, if you want to keep your garden eco-friendly, you should use this mulch. The coconut husk has no additives, and the mulch can last up to two years before losing its natural characteristics.

EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack

Check out this seeding product from EZ-Straw if you’re seeking for excellent processed straw mulch. A unique bonding chemical has been applied to keep the straw together, as this type of material generally lacks tackiness. This mulch is simple to use and is very effective in protecting grass seed from predators and harsh weather. Another advantage is the shorter germination period.

It does its work better and is guaranteed to be safe for pets thanks to the tackifier enhancement. Because the bonding ingredient is guar gum, which is commonly used in the food business, it can also be utilized in a vegetable garden. When it comes to applying this mulch, those who want to grow grass seed will probably notice the biggest benefits. It provides great seed protection as well as weed control. All things considered, the EZ-Straw Seeding mulch is highly recommended for the price.

Rubberific Brown Rubber Mulch

Rubberific shredded rubber mulch is a quality gardening alternative in every way, and it provides excellent value for money. It’s made entirely of recycled rubber, with a brown color and lifelike texture. This is one of the most durable mulching solutions available, which explains the higher price. It’s recommended if you’re concerned about fading or rotting, which can occur with other forms of mulching materials.

Shredded rubber mulch is worth considering for aesthetic reasons in addition to being a useful gardening medium for protecting plants. It retains its original beauty for a long time and, thanks to its non-toxic chemicals, will not disappoint in terms of safety. Mulch is an excellent choice for plants, but it can also be used for other landscaping applications, such as playground covering. Rubber mulch is a terrific purchase for many homeowners because it is easy to spread and lasts for at least a couple of years.

Hull Farm 50150 Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch

Hull Farm Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch is a fertilizing mulch that works well in less humid conditions for lawns, flowerbeds, and plants. Cocoa bean shells, which are known for their capacity to prevent moisture loss and keep soil dark, rich, and productive, make up this 100% organic mulching material.

It keeps the soil moist and healthy for optimal development and yield while without burning vegetation, thanks to its 2.5-1-3 fertilizer value. It also has a nice appearance and scent.

It’s worth noting, however, that Hull Farm Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch, like other cocoa shell mulch products, is susceptible to mold and fungi. As a result, it is less suitable for humid regions.

Soil Blend Super Compost 8 lbs. Concentrated Bag

Compost is an excellent mulch for flower beds since it offers nutrients to the soil while still looking neat and lovely. Cow dung, alfalfa meal, and clean earthworm castings are used to make this organic choice. Compost, like any mulch, aids in the retention of moisture and temperature regulation in the soil. It also provides nutrients to the plants, resulting in flowers that are larger, more colorful, more abundant, and longer life span.

Scotts Topsoil Lawn & Garden Soil Conditioner

When putting anything directly to your lawn, one of the most crucial considerations is to select a product that will both improve and protect the soil. This is especially true if you’re using it in a place where grass doesn’t grow well. Scotts Topsoil is a blend of organic soil and peat moss that helps your existing grass develop strong roots.

This is an excellent way to fill in holes in your grass or improve sparse spots. Scotts Topsoil is the ideal addition to brighten up the space before and during planting for people starting a new garden. Remember that this topsoil is meant to be used in the ground, not in containers or raised beds. It does not prevent weeds from growing in garden beds.

Buyer’s guide

Type

Mulch comes in two varieties: organic and inorganic. Anything made from a natural substance that will decompose over time, such as wood, paper, straw, grass clippings, or compost, qualifies as organic mulch. Although some compost may be pesticide- and chemical-free, this does not always imply that the material is. Anything constructed of synthetic materials, such as rubber mulch or plastic weed cloth, is considered inorganic mulch.

Mulch: Organic vs. Inorganic

The majority of mulching materials can be split into two categories:

  • Inorganic mulches are made of man-made materials or stone and are used to suppress weeds as well as for ornamental purposes.
  • Organic mulch is made from natural ingredients. These mulches, in addition to being ornamental, eventually decompose and give nutrients that enrich the soil.

Inorganic mulches include the following:

  • Gravel and stone
  • Plastic in black
  • Chips of shredded or synthetic rubber “bark”

Organic mulches are made up of a broader range of components, including:

  • Compost
  • Leaves, shredded
  • Chips of shredded wood and bark
  • Straw Pine Straw Hay

Use

Mulch serves as a barrier between the soil beneath it and the outside world. This can aid in soil temperature regulation and moisture retention, both of which are good to the roots of plants growing in the mulch. Weeds may also be prevented from sprouting because they do not receive enough sunlight to germinate and thrive.

Price

Mulch is commonly sold in 2-cubic-foot bags. The depth of the mulch at the time of application determines your coverage. Mulch costs between $2 and $6 a bag at home improvement stores. When you obtain mulch quotations from independent firms like ours, you can save even more money.

Design

Is the mulch going to be colored? What is its location? What natural components might detract from the aesthetics and benefits? Collect samples to see how well it covers the area.

Commitment

It is suggested that you alternate mulch types every few years. This mechanism occurs to keep the soil from getting overly acidic. Rotate mulch to fill voids left by decomposition and compacting.

Pet Security

Not all mulches are suitable for pets. Cocoa shell mulch, also known as cocoa bean mulch, is poisonous to dogs due to the presence of caffeine and theobromine, two substances that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, a rapid heart rate, tremors, and seizures in dogs. 1 If you have a pet, you should avoid using this type of mulch. Instead, opt for a pet-safe natural alternative.

Insulation value

The degree to which the mulch can keep the soil beneath it cool and moist is used to determine its insulation value. A effective summer insulator will lessen the need for watering while also protecting roots from excessive heat. Clematis vine is an example of a plant whose roots benefit immensely from being kept cool in the summer.

Required spring removal

Heavy organic mulches can sometimes suffocate sprouting spring plants, necessitating spring removal in some circumstances. This is obviously less of an issue for plants that stay alive and above ground all winter. Even exposed plants, however, can benefit from having the soil surrounding their roots warmed by the spring light, which is aided by the temporary removal of the mulch. In the case of plastic sheets (or landscape fabric), removal is unnecessary since holes are punched through the cloth to allow the plants to get air and sunlight.

Nourishment and aeration

Nourishment and aeration are important mulch components because they speed up decomposition as you incorporate the mulch into the soil. However, don’t be misled into believing that compost and mulch are interchangeable; they are not.

FAQs

What is a mulch?

Mulch is any product that is used to cover the soil, either for a specific function or simply to improve the appearance of the area. Mulch helps a garden retain moisture, regulate temperature, and keep weeds at bay. It can also disintegrate and contribute critical nutrients to the soil, depending on the material.

Mulch can be formed from a variety of natural resources including wood, straw, trimmings, compost, and even paper. This sort of mulch, known as organic mulch, can improve soil quality while also looking fantastic in your garden. Ensure that your organic mulch does not include seeds that may sprout and detract from your efforts.

Mulches constructed of synthetic materials, such as rubber pellets or plastic weed sheets, are examples of inorganic mulch. This sort of mulch is more expensive to install, but it lasts a long time and looks fantastic. It doesn’t degrade over time, either. Depending on why you’re placing mulch, this can be a pro or a con.

When should I mulch?

The best time to mulch is in the middle of the spring, when the earth has begun to warm and the weeds have not yet sprung their little buds. Mulching too early prevents the soil from warming, making it difficult for your garden to flourish in the late spring and summer. If you wait too long to mulch, you’ll have to perform extra labor to get rid of any weeds that have already sprouted. Mulching your garden in the fall is also a good idea, especially if you’re using organic mulch to increase your soil quality. Mulching in the fall helps to keep your soil warm during the winter months. Because certain plants require cold weather to go dormant, waiting until the first frost is a fantastic method to both support your plants and get the mulch down before the winter’s frigid days and nights.

Can I use old much?

Organic mulch is designed to degrade and supply additional nutrients to the soil. As a result, as your mulch ages, it may lose its effectiveness as a mulch. It’s time to replace the mulch if a handful of it looks and feels like soil when you pick it up. Replace it with a new layer after working it into the soil to add nutrients.

You can reuse the mulch for another season if it still offers cover. As you tend to the soil beneath it, rake it to one side. This is especially true in vegetable, herb, and fruit gardens where you intend to raise edible plants. Test your soil, add any nutrients it requires, and then rake the mulch back in place to finish the job.

The only exception is if your plants or garden have developed a disease that you believe is caused by the mulch. In this scenario, you should securely remove the mulch and dispose of it. Before the growing season begins, you’ll need to cover your soil with a new layer of mulch.

Is mulch ideal for the garden?

Yes. Mulching a garden helps reduce weeds and soil erosion, conserves moisture, protects soil and plant roots from extreme temperatures, enriches the soil, and improves the garden’s aesthetic.

What is the best type of mulch for gardens?

Mulch selection is similar to plant selection in the garden. The “best one” is determined by your garden’s soil conditions, drainage, desired aesthetics, and budget. Although the newsprint is a wonderful mulch, it does not look particularly attractive in the garden. River rocks are attractive and natural, but they can be difficult to keep in the shade of deciduous trees.

What mulch should I use to prevent weeds?

A mulch that totally filters sunlight is the greatest way to manage weeds or any undesired plant development. Most weeds won’t grow if they don’t get enough sunshine. A thick covering of any dense mulch, such as wood chips, sawdust, or even grass clippings, can be used to block light (I recommend 2 to 4 inches).

Use a layer of landscaping cloth held in place with landscaping staples to completely block light from the soil for the greatest weed control. For a more natural look, cover the fabric with a layer of decorative mulch. If you don’t want to use a landscaping cloth, the easiest way to get rid of weeds is to hoe them out or apply a natural or chemical weed killer before mulching.

What is the best mulch to use around the foundation of my house?

Plantings and mulched areas should be kept at least one foot away from the foundation in the ideal situation. This area can be coated with natural stone or an inorganic mulch like plastic or rubber pellets to help encourage good drainage and minimize washouts from downspouts. If you’re worried about termites, use only an inch or two of organic mulch near the foundation and check for termites frequently. Termites loathe cedar and heartwood cypress mulch, which are both types of wood mulch. Both are more expensive than other varieties of natural mulch, but the added peace of mind is well worth it.

Ideal mulch

It has a lot to do with your personal preferences as well as the requirements you must meet. The following are some indicators of high-quality mulch:

  • Wood, straw, leaves, grass clippings, pine needles, straw, and other organic materials are used
  • Color that lasts a long time—the darker the better
  • Easily accessible and reasonably priced
  • They should have a medium or fine texture so that they break down smoothly and blend in well with the soil.
  • Low rate of breakdown
  • Plants benefit from it as well
  • There are no hazardous chemicals, dyes, or other pollutants in this product.
  • Natural-looking or aesthetically pleasing to the surroundings
  • Insect development and infestation are prevented
  • Heat and water are retained and distributed equally

Mulch maintenance

  • When the mulch color begins to fade, add a thin layer of fresh mulch to keep it looking good. Black mulch dye lasts the longest in terms of durability.
  • Replace the entire layer of mulch with new mulch if they appear to be rotting.
  • Despite the fact that mulches inhibit the growth of weeds, they must be dealt with as soon as they appear.
  • Remove weeds as soon as they sprout, and if required, use a herbicide spray.
  • Weeds can also be controlled with herbicides.
  • When mulch hasn’t been added yet or the procedure is still underway, use landscape fabric.
  • Mulch emerging weeds to prevent them from growing by blocking sunlight.
  • Turn and mix the mulch with a rake once a season, and replace the layer if necessary, to keep the mulch layer at a thickness of 2-4 inches.
  • Make sure the mulch is at least a few inches away from your plants’ trunks and stems, or their growth will be harmed.
  • Mulch at least twice a year and whenever they stop working. When crumpled, they will turn to powder like dirt, indicating that they are no longer functional.
  • Create boundaries around the places to prevent them from being washed away by wind, rain, or storms, and avoid using landscape fabric on sloped areas because it is slick.
  • To clean the collected dirt on the surface of rubber mulches, sprinkle them with water.
  • To enjoy lower maintenance and ease, consider putting a weed barrier prior to mulching.

Last update on 2022-06-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API