6 Best Types of Mulch to Use in Your Landscape
Need to add mulch to your yard? From wood chips to pine needles, discover the top types of mulch and how to use them.
Cocoa Bean Hulls
A useful mulch option and a byproduct of the chocolate industry, cocoa bean hulls work in a variety of landscaping styles and don’t compact over time. Use an inch-deep layer to suppress weeds, but choose another mulch if you own dogs. Just like chocolate, cocoa bean hulls are toxic to them.
If you have conifers on your property, the fallen foliage makes excellent mulch. Rake out extra needles from under the tree and transfer a one- to two-inch layer to your beds. Contrary to popular belief, evergreen needles do not make soils more acidic.
Wood chips come in many forms, stay in place in windy conditions and are usually inexpensive. Your local municipality or utility company may even give wood chips away for free; be sure to call and ask. Pile on a three-inch layer for weed-fighting benefits.
Recycle leaves for a quick (and free!) way to put nutrients back into your beds. Shred with a lawnmower and use a one- to three-inch layer. Leaves may blow away with the wind, so consider creating a simple leaf compost for better results.
Look for medium and large chunks for the base of trees and shrubs. Bark comes in many colors and offers excellent weed resistance. Just keep it a few inches away from plant crowns and buildings to avoid ant and rodent damage.
Rock and Gravel
Fabulous for plants that need tons of drainage, rock and gravel are attractive mulch options that require little maintenance. The downsides: They don’t improve the soil structure, add nutrients or regulate temperatures as organic mulches do.