How to Change Mulch Color

Hands with garden gloves holding mulch

My neighbor cut down a tree, and the landscape company gave us the resulting wood mulch. Is there a way to color the wood chips to match my existing cedar mulch?” – Denny

There are some spray-on products available for DIY mulch coloring, including Bare Ground Just Scentsational Bark Mulch Colorant and Mulch Magic. These products refresh the faded color on the top of an existing mulch layer. It would be more difficult (and expensive!) to color an entire load of mulch using these products.

At about $30 per half-gallon for mulch colorant, your money might be better spent on a more environmentally-friendly solution. You could apply the wood chips as a base layer, then cover it with a thin layer of the decorative mulch. This gives you uniform color and texture, and you can continue with the decorative mulch after the wood chips deteriorate.

Mulch colorant pigments, such as iron oxide and carbon black, are generally considered to be non-toxic. However, even non-toxic substances should be used sparingly in the lawn and garden. We don’t always know the impact of applying even “natural” products to a fragile ecosystem.

If you go this route, follow all package instructions very carefully, use as little as you have to, and make sure the colorant does not come into contact with driveways, lawns, or existing landscape plants unless you want them colored, too!

Further Information


  1. I actually got some some wood mulch form a local tree service and purchased a topical colorant, “EnviroColor” for only $30.00 and colored 3000 sq. ft. I thought was a great price considering the mulch was free. My dogs love the new back yard “Dog Park” and once the color dried I have had no tracking of color into the house. Since this was such a success, I purchased EnviroColor Georgia Pine colorant and treated my pine straw in Febuary. The color still looks great and my neighbors are jumping on the next wave of ground cover solutions!


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