Choosing the Best Type of Mulch for Your Yard

Mulch is a great tool to beautify your yard or garden while simultaneously making it easier to maintain. Best Type of Mulch, Greener Horizon, Central MAHowever, there are so many types of mulch available that it can be difficult to know which to choose. Here is an outline of the most common types of mulch so that you can determine which one works best for your needs.


Straw tends to be the cheapest of all mulches, but it is also the least recommended. It is more prone to blowing around in the wind, catching fire, attracting rodents, and is less attractive than other mulch materials. It is better for use in vegetable gardens rather than flower gardens. Some types of straw actually contain the seeds of the weeds that you are trying to prevent (such as oat straw), so be sure to only use straw that is free of weed seeds.

Bark Mulches

Mulch made from bark (typically from fir, pine, redwood, and spruce trees) create a natural, woodsy look. Bark mulch doesn’t tend to be uprooted by the wind, and is commonly available, which also makes it cost effective. However, some types of bark can be toxic to plants, especially younger ones, so be careful using bark mulch around plants with shallow roots.

Wood Chips

Wood chips are similar to bark mulches in appearance, although they tend to be more susceptible to sun bleaching. Wood chips tent to be high in carbon, so if you have any plants living in the mulch, it is important to compensate by using a high nitrogen fertilizer. You may be able to find wood chips free from local tree trimmers. Because they are often utilizing the unwanted parts of wood, wood chips are considered environmentally friendly.

Cocoa Mulch

Cocoa mulch is one of the most eye-catching types of mulch because it has a beautiful chocolate color and fragrance. However, it is also one of the most expensive types of mulch. These chips are light, so it is important to spray them down with water after application to keep them from blowing away. If you have pets, be sure to avoid using cocoa mulch, since it is toxic to dogs and cats.

Pine Needles

Pine needles are popular as a mulch because they can often be gathered at no cost since they can be found in abundance in the fall months. Pine needles tend to contain a lot of acid, so use them around plants that like acidity, such as rhododendrons and blueberries, for best results.


Leaves make a great mulch and they can also be collected for free during the fall. Just be sure to shred them before laying them down or matting will occur.


Gravel doesn’t need to be replenished since it is an inorganic material and won’t compost like the above mulch materials. If you are planning on getting gravel or stone mulch, make sure that you are committed to this decision. Sometimes the rocks can ruin the soil beneath them and gravel can be difficult to remove. Gravel is the best choice if you are looking for something that is low-maintenance.

Now that you have had an overview of the most common types of mulch available, it is time to make a decision about which is best for your yard. If you have any questions or would like to have someone install your new mulch for you, please contact Greener Horizon. We are your landscaping specialists.