Types of mulch

Are you trying to decide which type of mulch is best for your garden? Did you know there are several types to choose from? Once presented with the choices deciding can quickly become a difficult task. Below you will find the most popular types of mulch to help you take some of the guess work out of trying to decide which type is best for you.



Chopped leaf mulch
Did you know that Autumn leaves can offer a free much source? In order to prevent leaves from matting you need to chop them first using a lawnmower fitted with a grass catcher. Then spread them over the desired area.

*NOTE- if you do not chop up the leaves and just let them pile up they will block out light to your plants killing them. Not to mention whole piled up leaves are a excellent home for pests.

If you need help removing piled up leaves give us a call today and schedule your next leaf removal.
Cocoa mulch
Cocoa mulch is a give or take.  Some people love it, some people hate it, and some people have never even heard of it. Cocoa mulch is just a type of mulch that is made from the shell of the cocoa bean.  It is light weight and slightly hard just like a nut shell.  Most of the rejection is caused by the fact that it can be toxic to animals so if you have dogs or cats around you may not want to use this type of mulch.

Landscape fabric
This type of mulch is a dark fabric that is generally made of polypropylene, which means it is a type of plastic. It is made into a woven material making it breathable.  It is designed to let the water in but keep the sunlight out. The downside to landscape fabric however, is that as the fabric ages weeds can get a bit of sunlight and push there way up through the fabric.  When that happens you will have to replace the landscape fabric or use another method of mulching.

Lava Rock mulch
Lava rock is lighter than traditional rock and gives your yard eye catching color. The edges of lava rock are sharp so it is best if it is used in places that don’t require much maintenance. Lava rock lasts forever so it is definitely an investment that pays off. Make sure you use it where you intend to keep it though because it is very difficult to remove.
Living mulch
Did you know that you can actually have a mulch that doesn’t decompose? All you need to do is plant a ground cover to act as living mulch. When you plant living mulch you can expect many of the benefits of traditional mulches all while adding more beauty to your landscape design. Not sure what to plant? We can help! Did you know that CHS offers landscape design and installation? Give us a call today to schedule your free estimate.

Newspaper or cardboard mulch
When you lay down newspaper or cardboard as mulch it is guaranteed to block out the light from the soil beneath it. However, newspaper is much more effective then cardboard because it molds to the land beneath it. Once the mulch is laid down just cut a hole in it and plant your plants where you want them.  You can also spread the newspaper around already established plants. Newspapers and cardboard are a bit of an eyesore though, so we recommend laying another type of mulch such as wood chips or pine straw on top.
Pebble mulch
Pebble mulch is generally only useful on pathways. This type of mulch will allow the water to drain all the way through, which can not be accomplished with cement and asphalt. Pebble mulch also absorbs some heat from the sun during the day and gives it off at night, which can be very useful. However, the pebbles can be pushed out of the area which they are meant for if they are not confined. This can cause a problem over time if you need to mow along the edges of your driveway or pathways. The pebbles will cause dings and nicks in your mower blade causing it to become dull, plus flying pebbles can cause injury. If the gravel is contained though it’s very easy to use a rake to put most of the gravel back into its place from time to time.
Pine straw mulch
This is probably one of the most popular types of mulch and is wonderful to use as long as it’s in there e right area. Because pine needles are so thin you will need to put down a fairly thick layer of them in order to fully block out the light. The upside of pine straw is that it lasts a very long time and if you can find a free source it can also be very cost effective.
Rock mulch
Rock mulch can be used in perennial planting and flower beds. Like pebble mulch the rocks absorb heat from the sun during the day creating a warm micro-climate in the areas where they lay.  Dark stones and rocks will absorb more heat than light colored stones and larger stones and rocks also cover more area with fewer stones so if the rock mulch needs to be removed it will be an easier process than with pebble mulch. A good covering of large stones will also help prevent soil erosion to some extent. The heat absorption from rocks can be a problem though, as it can cause faster water evaporation from soil.
Straw mulch
Straw mulch is a very popular type of mulch mainly because it is inexpensive and easy to spread. However, unless you spread a very thick layer it won’t block out the light very well and weeds will have plenty of light to grow right through it! Also, straw can contain weed seed which may only add a problem to your garden, not to mention rodents love straw!


Wood chip mulch
Wood chip mulch has a great ability to retain water because of the ability to take up and hold in moisture. This is an advantage for both overly wet and overly dry areas. When it rains too much the wood chips will suck up the excess moisture and prevent puddling. When it rains too little the wood chips will release the water they’ve been holding giving your plants water even in dry times. However, wood chips are a high carbon-to-nitrogen material so please note that they are wonderful as a top soil mulch, but be sure not to dig them into the soil as they can harm your plants.




Do you have questions about which type of much is best for you? If so give us a call today and let us help you design the yard of your dreams.


VistaScapes is a Complete Home Services division providing Landscape Design, Installation, Maintenance, Fertilization, Sod Installation, Turf Seeding, Mulching, Lot Cleanup, Erosion Control, Retaining walls, and Hardscaping.  Serving Union County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia and Towns County Georgia. For your Home Maintenance needs visit our Complete Home Services website at www.CompleteHomeServicesUSA.com



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