Types of Mulch for Your Yard

Watch the previous or next video in our series of tips for your yard.

Applying a thick layer of mulch around shrubs and in planting beds is a great way to hold moisture in the soil and keep weeds from sprouting.

There are many types of mulch available for your yard, including:

  • Cypress Mulch: Made from ground up cypress wood and bark, cypress mulch looks attractive and lasts a long time. It may not be the most eco-friendly option, however, since more cypress trees are harvested for mulch than replanted each year.
  • Red Wood Mulch: This mulch is composed of wood waste with a red dye added to make it resemble cypress mulch. While less expensive than cypress mulch, it doesn’t last as long and the dye can bleed out into the soil. Wood mulch can also rob nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes.
  • Pine Bark Mulch: Made from the bark of pine trees that are harvested to make lumber or paper. Pine bark is attractive and lasts a long time. Due to its light nature, pine bark may wash out of beds and onto your lawn during a hard rain.
  • Rubber Mulch: This inorganic mulch is composed of recycled tires and is available in several colors. While rubber mulch is attractive and lasts a long time, it can have a pungent rubber odor and costs more than other types of mulch.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information


I thought I’d give you a quick tutorial on some of the most popular mulches that are out there. Topping the list, we’ve got cypress mulch. It looks nice, it lasts a long time, easy to spread, very inexpensive. However, environmentalists are not happy about this because the manufacturers are harvesting about 30 million cubic feet more than they replenish each year.

A good alternative, of course, is the red mulch. This looks like a cypress, but it’s just dyed that way. This is actually waste wood, construction debris. One of the bad things about this though is the fact that the dye inside can actually bleed out. I’ve actually seen it stain concrete. This also will deplete your nitrogen levels, you’ll have to replenish that on a regular basis.

Pine bark nuggets are nice. You’ve got the small and the large, this is the large bag. It does look very nice, it lasts a little longer, doesn’t decompose as quickly, inexpensive. However, the big chunks, like this, will have a tendency to wash away. During a good, heavy rain; you’re going to be sweeping it back into place. Plus, this will deplete your pH level, just slightly.

Now, an inorganic option is rubber mulch. This is actually ground up tires. Again, dyed to different colors so it looks good. On the bad side, it’s a little more expensive; and when you first open the bag, a bit of a pungent odor. If you get by that, I like the rubber mulch.


  1. I am working to design my backyard landscaping for my new house. I am trying to figure out what type of mulch to use, so I appreciate your post. I like the idea of rubber mulch because it lasts a long time and looks nice (and it doesn’t attract termites). I’ll have to look into the other options as well. Thanks for the info!

  2. I’ve always liked pine bark mulch just because of the way it smells. It’s nice that it lasts a long time like you mentioned. Spring is here and I’m hoping to make it out to the garden this weekend and start gardening again.

  3. I just built a wooden fence. We have a huge vine weed problem in our sugar sand in central Florida. The root’s look like potatoes and the vine grow’s about 3 inches over night. I want to have mulch along side the fence but I’m concerned with the mulch holding moisture and rotting my fence. Is rubber mulch with lawn fabric the best bet. I’m not looking at planting any plant’s along the fence at present time. Thanks, Ron

    • Hi, Ethel!
      You can lay plastic, but please note that the sun usually finds a way in, and weeds may still pop up. That’s why it’s important to use a combination of mulching and weeding to care for your yard.
      Thanks for your question!

  4. We have a lot of trees. In the fall, we get a lot of leaves in our mulch around the house and front yard landscaping. Hard to get leaves out and doesn’t look good with leaves all in it. What is the best mulch to use for these conditions?

    • Mitch,
      Pine straw mulch may be a little easier to remove leaves from.
      But almost anything is going to need to be raked out annually with the leaves and replaced.
      Good luck!


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