Choosing the Right Landscape Mulch

Landscape mulch serves several different purposes. It can add to the beauty of the landscape design by adding uniform background color around plantings. It also provides a functional service by helping lock in moisture around plantings and, when organic, adding nutrients to the soil. There are several different types of mulch available for use in landscaping. It can be helpful to understand the different types of mulch available and the differences between them. 

Shredded Bark
Often made from cedar bark, this is one of the most popular mulch products available. It is organic and provides the natural color of wood around your plantings. It is fairly slow to decompose, which can make it a good choice for its long life and low cost. 

Pine Bark
Another wood product used for mulch, this bark comes in larger, more solid chunks than the shredded bark. This wood mulch will have an even longer life than the shredded bark, but is not recommended for sloped areas because it can be easily washed away. It also is often available in a variety of colors. 

Cocoa Hull
This fine, chocolate colored mulch also comes with a delicious chocolate scent. It tends to be a bit more expensive than the bark mulches and can potentially be poisonous to pets. 

Artificial or Rubber Mulch
Recycled tires are used to create this long-lasting mulch. In addition to creating flower borders, it has become quite popular for use under playground equipment.