Types of Mulch and Their Uses

Mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of an area of soil. This layer is applied to conserve moisture, improve fertility of the soil, reduce growth of weed and enhance visual appeal of the area.

There are two different categories of mulch: organic & inorganic. Organic mulches are substances produced by the plant world and decompose with time. As the mulch decomposes, they give your soil nutrients. Organic mulches include bark, leaf mold, garden compost, grass clippings, hay, and bark chips.

Inorganic mulch protects the top layer of the soil and adds beauty to your garden. Such inorganic materials can be used while landscaping your garden. While this type is long-lasting, once it’s laid, it restricts access to soil, making it very difficult to add more matter to it.

Types of Organic-Mulch


They are very popular and also freely available. When the trees shed their leaves, you can gather them, then cut them using a shredder or a lawnmower. After they decompose, they give your soil an absorbent, porous structure.

Bark Chips

Bark chips and composed bark is a mulch that provides a very beautiful finish to your garden. This type of mulch takes much longer to decompose compared to grass or leaves. There are different types of chip sizes available today, and smaller chips are usually easier to work with. They are best used around shrubs, trees, and perennial gardens.

Grass Clippings

Grass clippings or lawn clipping can be collected once you mow your own lawn. They can be used in the vegetable garden. Some people mix them with tree leaves or some rough compost to protect them from being compressed into mat. They work best when spread around even tiny plants because they have a fine texture.

Straw or Salt Hay

Field hay, straw, and salt hay all have very similar properties; they are untidy, lightweight and make a great winter covering. They are in most cases sold in bales and can be used in gardens where finesse isn't a concern.

Peat Moss

This is a great option because it’s long-lasting and very convenient. This type also lowers PH level of soil and is therefore used for acid-loving plants like blueberries and rhododendrons.

When determining which type of mulch is best suited to your landscaping project, a professional landscaping supplier like Kurtz Brothers in Columbus, Ohio, can help.