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

When choosing mulch, keep in mind the areas you want to cover and any family members or pets who will be near 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 regularly 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 various 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 with 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, making it an excellent choice for playgrounds or swing sets.

Rubber mulch is more expensive than its natural counterparts but 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 upfront.

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 keep your soil weed-free and moist while 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 and a nice clean look mulch. A mulch barrier is ideal in a location where you truly want to keep weeds at bay.

This mulch is a physical barrier between your lovely garden and any weeds 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 various outdoor settings, so it has a lot of promise in 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 block of coconut husk mulch can expand to nearly 2 cubic feet of the gardening medium, despite its modest look. When you use this form of mulch, you can take advantage of several 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 excellent processed straw mulch. A unique bonding chemical has been applied to keep the straw together, as this material generally lacks tackiness. This mulch is simple and very effective in protecting grass seeds from predators and harsh weather. Another advantage is the shorter germination period.

It works better and is guaranteed safe for pets thanks to the tackifier enhancement. Because the bonding ingredient is guar gum, commonly used in the food business, it can also be used in a vegetable garden.

When 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. 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 and is 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 few 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, 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 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 on your lawn, one of the most crucial considerations is selecting a product that will improve and protect the soil. This is especially true if you’re using it 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 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.

What is the best type of mulch?

The best mulch depends on the plants you’re mulching and the aesthetic you want for your landscaping. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Use caution when getting mulch from unknown sources because they may contain weed seeds. This defeats one of the main reasons for mulching in the first place.

Mulch can be made up of various materials, including:

  • Bark: Bark is great for the bases of permanent trees, shrubs, and small greenery. Use this mulch only after you’ve decided on a garden plan. Removing bark can be time-consuming.
  • Compost and manure: Compost is useful for a wide range of applications.
  • Shredded leaves: are useful for various purposes and, best of all, free!
  • Newspaper: Wet newspapers can be used as mulch around plants.
  • Grass clippings: Grass clippings are ideal for open regions with no shrubs.
  • Straw: Great for boosting the growth of gorgeous vegetables in your vegetable garden.

Buyer’s guide


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 artificial materials or stone and used to suppress weeds and for ornamental purposes.
  • Organic mulch is made from natural ingredients. In addition to being ornamental, these mulches 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


Mulch is a barrier between the soil beneath it and the outside world. This can aid in soil temperature regulation and moisture retention, which are good for 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.


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. You can save even more money when you obtain mulch quotations from independent firms like ours.


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


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. An effective summer insulator will lessen the need for watering while 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 less of an issue for plants that stay alive and above ground all winter.

However, exposed plants can benefit from having the soil surrounding their roots warmed by the spring light, which is aided by the temporary removal of the mulch. Removing plastic sheets (or landscape fabric) 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.


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 and dispose of the mulch. Before the growing season begins, you’ll need to cover your soil with a new layer of mulch.

What mulch should I use to prevent weeds?

A mulch that 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 with landscaping staples to completely block light from the soil for the greatest weed control. Cover the fabric with a layer of decorative mulch for a more natural look. 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, 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 and 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 to break down smoothly and blend well with the soil.
  • Low rate of breakdown
  • Plants benefit from it as well
  • This product has no hazardous chemicals, dyes, or other pollutants.
  • 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.
  • Although mulches inhibit weeds’ growth, they must be dealt with as soon as they appear.
  • Remove weeds as soon as they sprout, and use a herbicide spray if required.
  • Weeds can also be controlled with herbicides.
  • Use landscape fabric when mulch hasn’t been added yet, or the procedure is still underway.
  • 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 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.
  • Consider putting a weed barrier before mulching to enjoy lower maintenance and ease.

Last update on 2023-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API