What Are the Different Types of Mulch?

mulchingMulching is an essential part of proper landscape maintenance. Not only does it add a personal decorative touch to your backyard, front yard, or garden, but it also provides numerous nutritional and protective benefits to your plants. Of course, the type of mulch you use depends heavily on what you intend to plant in your outdoor space. There are many different mulching options available for you to choose from, so it’s important that you do your research and learn which ones will be most valuable to your garden.

Organic Mulching

Organic mulch is made entirely of all-natural materials, many of which can be found in your very own outdoor space. Woodchips, straw, pine needles, and cocoa bean hulls are all great examples of organic mulch that you can make yourself at home.


There are many varieties of woodchips such as hickory, cherry, and pecan, and they all serve different purposes. Before choosing a specific type of woodchip (if that’s the route you want to take), you should come up with a feasible landscaping plan for your plot of land. If you’re going for a woodsy or rustic aesthetic, then woodchips are the perfect choice. Just make sure that you place them over the top soil and don’t mix it in otherwise the organic woodchips will diminish the natural nitrogen levels in your soil rather than transferring it to your plants.


Straw is mainly used to grow vegetables because it’s very porous and allows plants to expand more easily. However, it’s also an excellent habitation and breeding ground for many rodents, so use it at your own risk. If you do choose to use straw, make sure you don’t purchase a package that contains weed seeds. If you’re making your own, don’t add weed seeds.

Pine Needles

Pine needles are highly acidic, which makes them an excellent mulching option for plants that thrive on high pH levels such as azaleas and blueberries. However, unless they’ve been very finely composted, it’s inadvisable to blend them into your soil. Place them on top instead to reap their full benefits without risking raising the acidity of your soil too much.

Cocoa Bean Hulls

Yes, cocoa bean hulls do contain caffeine and theobromine, both of which are poisonous to dogs, so if you choose to use this type of mulch, you should put up a warning sign on your lawn for dog walkers. That being said, the chocolaty aroma is a like a pleasure trove for the senses and the decadent coffee-brown hues are absolutely divine.

Inorganic Mulch

Unlike organic mulch, inorganic mulch either doesn’t ever decompose or it doesn’t decompose as quickly and easily as the organic ones. Stone, landscaping fabric, and black plastic are some of the most widely used types of inorganic mulching.


Stone is a contemporary and stylish type of mulch that gives a clean and aesthetically pleasing appeal. However, most stones don’t retain water and can therefore dry out plant roots, so it’s best to place stone mulches away from your greenery and use them for a visual contrast instead.

Landscaping Fabrics

Landscaping fabrics are extremely versatile and because they’re permeable, they can retain water while still preventing weeds from germinating in your soil. They can also be used in combination with other types of mulch, and they can last for several planting seasons.

Black Plastic

Black plastic effectively allows your soil to retain a great deal of moisture, and it prevents weed growth due to its impermeability, making it the ideal mulch for fruit and vegetables. For this reason, though, it’s not recommended to use black plastic in areas that are poorly hydrated and need more moisture.

Forever Green Lawn & Landscape Inc. is an industry expert when it comes to planning and cultivating beautiful residential and commercial outdoor properties. For over 20 years, we’ve enhanced the look and functionality of landscapes throughout Toronto and the GTA. To learn more about our landscaping and mulching services, please call us at (905) 454-0875 or e-mail info@forevergreeninc.ca.