What Is Mulch and Which Mulch Should You Use?


Mulch is loose coverings or sheets of materials placed on the surface of the soil to suppress weeds, maintain soil temperature, retain moisture, and prevent erosion.

Types of Mulch

Some mulches have aesthetic benefits, while others are more functional and can improve soil quality. Mulches can be classified into two types: organic and inorganic. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Organic mulch: Consists of living materials such as pine needles, shredded bark, straw, compost, grasses, and leaves. Over time, these materials decompose, adding organic matter to the soil and improving its quality.
  • Inorganic mulch: This type of mulch is synthetic, meaning it is not derived from natural resources. Inorganic mulch is often used to prevent weeds and improve soil water retention capability. It does not decompose easily. Some types do not decompose at all and need to be replaced regularly. Also, they do not add value to the soil. Some types of inorganic mulches include rubber, landscape fabric, river rocks, and geotextile mats.

Things to consider

Stones, gravel, and volcanic rocks don’t need to be replaced annually; however, as they don’t decompose, they don’t enrich the soil. Additionally, stones can retain heat, potentially raising soil temperature more than plant roots can tolerate. Made from shredded tires, rubber mulch can help recycle old tires. However, it doesn’t add any value to the soil.

Landscape plastic and fabric can be laid under gravel paths to keep gravel from working its way into the soil, but can prevent water from reaching the roots of your plants.

Bark mulch is one of the most popular types of organic mulch. It is great at suppressing weeds. If you decide to use bark mulch, order it from a garden center that offers bark mulch delivery near you in Vallejo and can save you the hassle of transporting mulch.

Where to Mulch

A two-inch mulch layer can provide essential nutrients to perennials and flowering annuals throughout the growing season. As mulch breaks down, it might be necessary to top it up with an additional inch or so to replenish the nutrients. If you have roses in your garden, lay a three or four-inch layer of mulch. You can also mulch your veggies, bulbs and tubers, and even trees and shrubs.

Choosing the Right Mulch

The right mulch for your garden does not compact, decomposes relatively slowly, is fire resistant, and water and air-permeable.

How to Mulch

If you have fast-draining soil, spread your mulch to be four inches thick. For slow-draining soils, lay a thinner layer (1-2 inches) of mulch. Remember to extend mulch beyond your plants’ drip line and water after application to help anchor it.

Whether you need mulch or topsoil for your project, Bayshore Materials has got you covered. Our products meet high-quality standards established by reputable industry bodies. To learn more, call 707-644-0859.