Best Mulch Review Guide For 2020 – A great yard needs great mulch. However, with so many different types of mulch out there to choose from, selecting the right one can be more of a chore than a complete flower bed overhaul.
From wood chips and shredded bark to cocoa shells and rubber chunks, we’ll cover the basics of mulch and help you pick the best mulch for your landscape in our Best Mulch Review Guide For 2020.
Best Mulch Buyer’s Guide:
How many times have you loaded up your car with cheap mulch purchased at a big box store only to be unhappy with the results? While mulch may not be an exciting topic for many, it helps to know a little about this landscaping essential before you make the same mistake this Spring.
There are several benefits of adding mulch to your flowerbeds or garden. During the summer months, mulch helps retain moisture in the soil, resulting in the need for less watering. Since the hot sun tends to dry and harden soil faster, mulch will protect the soil from harsh sunlight and make it an ideal environment for your plants to grow.
Mulch also helps with weed prevention. By adding two to three inches of the right mulch to your flower or planting beds, it will blocs light from penetrating the soil and prohibit weed germination. However, it’s important not to overdo it, because too much mulch will have a adverse effect .
Here’s a quick rundown of the many advantages of using mulch in your garden:
- Minimize evaporation and maximize soil water retention
- Water less
- Improve soil quality
- Slow weed growth
- Protect plant roots
- Add texture and color to garden designs
Types of Mulch:
As you can see from the reviews above, there are a number of different types of mulch available to choose from. Some of the most popular types of mulch include:
Shredded bark from pine, cypress, and cedar trees is widely used by a majority of homeowners, mainly due to its lower cost and natural good looks . This organic, environmentally-friendly mulch does its job quite well. However, it breaks down quite quickly compared to some mulches and can lower the soil’s nitrogen levels as well.
Cedar or Pine Bark Chips:
Bark chips or nuggets break down more slowly than shredded bark, but they scatter easily and are less than ideal for slopes and other areas with the potential of being washed away by strong rains. Despite a slower rate of decomposition than shredded bark, wood bark chips also need replacing at least once a year each Spring.
Straw mulch features a beautiful golden color that looks great out in the garden and in any rural setting. While straw is easy to spread and doesn’t break down very fast, it doesn’t do as well of a job preventing weeds as many other mulch varieties. Of all of the straw mulch we tested, only EZ-Straw and USA Premium Long Needle Pine Straw did a sufficient job with weed prevention and checked most of the boxes.
Coconut Husks and Cocoa Shells:
These are two increasingly popular types of mulch that do an excellent job of preventing evaporation and maximizing the soil’s water retention. Unfortunately, cocoa shells in particular are prone to mold and fungal growth, so they are best suited for landscapes in dry climates.
Since rubber is an inorganic material, it doesn’t break down into the soil or need to be regularly reapplied year after year . One application will last forever, which is a big plus for many. Rubber mulch also looks great and does an excellent job of preventing weeds, especially when used alongside sheer landscaping fabric.
Which type of mulch is right for me:
For most yards, organic mulch like straw, bark, coconut husks, and cocoa shells is best because each of these break down into the soil to improve the health of flowers and plants. However, like most things in life, there are some things to consider in order to choose the right type of mulch for not
only your yard but your budget, lifestyle, and specific needs as well.
Window Garden Organic Fiber Mulch
Best Mulch for Landscaping – Great for general landscaping, Window Garden Organic Fiber Mulch is an attractive cinnamon-colored soil covering that will last for years, or at least a season or two.
Unlike regular wood mulch, it’s made up of coconut husks and fibers that are lightweight, porous, and great for promoting the healthy growth of a variety of plants.
In fact, we were pleased to find this unique mulch almost completely eliminated root rot and soil compaction, which are the primary reasons for plant failure. It also does an excellent job of preventing weeds and the formation of mold, which is something not all mulch can boast about.
Another benefit of this Organic Fiber Mulch from Window Garden is its ability to retain moisture and reduce evaporation. This means less watering, which is a huge plus for anyone without their own well.
That being said, perhaps its best attribute is just how easy it is to work with. It comes compacted in a lightweight square that’s easy to pull apart, and it expands when watered. Pretty neat indeed.
- Attractive Soil Covering: Top off your potted plants with a beautiful cinnamon colored mulch – Looks Great and Lasts for Years!
- No Soil Splash: Keep your soil in the pot, prevent potting soil from splashing onto your furniture, plants and planter.
- Healthier Plants: Reduces soil compaction and root rot – the number one reason for potted plant failure.
- Less Watering: Mulch layer reduces evaporation and retains moisture so plants need less water.
- Prevent Weeds And Soil Mold: Protective mulch layer keeps light off soil for less weeds and mold.
- Great for trees, potted plants, and general landscaping
- Ideal for a variety of climates
- A bit pricey
- Takes several “blocks” for flower beds and ground coverage
Hull Farm 50150 Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch
Best Mulch for Dry Climates – Hull Farm Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch is a fertilizing mulch that’s ideal for lawns, flowerbeds, and plants in less humid climates. This completely organic mulching material consists entirely of cocoa bean shells , which are known for the ability to prevent moisture loss and keep soil dark, rich, and productive.
With a 2.5-1-3 fertilizer value, it does an excellent job of keeping the soil moist and healthy for maximum growth and yield while not burning vegetation. It also looks and smells great.
However, it’s worth noting that like other cocoa shell mulch products, Hull Farm Cocoa Bean Shell Mulch is not very mold and fungi-resistant. This makes it less ideal for humid climates.
- Cocoa shell mulch has an approximate fertilizer value of 2.5-1-3; it will not burn vegetation
- A wholly organic mulching material made from the outer shell of the cocoa bean
- The material breaks down slowly and will not disappear into the soil
- Apply in the spring or summer to help reduce weeds and conserve water
- Comes in 2-cubic feet bag
- Looks and smells great
- Easy to spread
- Keeps soil moist and rich
- Not very mold and fungi-resistant
National Cocoa Shell Blommer Shell Mulch
Best Mulch for Ease of Use – Blommer Shell Mulch by National Cocoa Shell looks great, is easy to handle, and works well for a variety of uses. Rather than consisting of shredded cypress or cedar like many other less expensive mulching options, this premium mulch product is made up the outer shells of cocoa beans .
What’s so great about cocoa bean shells? That’s a good question. Well, in addition to smelling chocolatey delicious and featuring an attractive brown color, it does an excellent job of retaining water and avoiding sogginess. This means it will keep your plants, flowers, and/or grass moist and healthy with minimal watering.
Blommer Shell Mulch is also super lightweight compared to traditional mulch and surprisingly easy to spread. In fact, we were able to cover 150 square feet of flower beds with minimal effort in a matter of minutes.
If you live in a dry, sunny climate and need a premium, easy-to-spread mulch with great water retention, it may just be the solution you’ve been looking for.
- Helps Maintain Your Garden
- Attractive Brown Color
- Will Not Bleach Out
- Blommer shell mulch
- Made up of the outside shell of the cocoa bean
- It is an attractive brown color which admits and retains water and never becomes soggy
- Will not bleach out
- Available in 2-cubit feet
- Lightweight and easy to spread
- Pleasant smell
- Excellent water retention
- Not ideal for humid climates
- Needs sunshine
EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack
Best Mulch for Grass Seed – Some mulches are great for potted plants and keeping weeds out of flower beds. Others, however, serve a different purpose.
EZ-Straw Seeding Mulch with Tack won’t keep weeds 100 percent at bay or necessarily beautify your lawn, but it does a fantastic job of protecting grass seed and helping it sprout . In other words, it speeds up germination and will make your lawn greener. Who doesn’t love a healthy green lawn?
Unlike regular straw, this premium processed straw contains a special bonding agent, giving it a tackiness that helps hold it together and keep from washing out in heavy winds and rains. This is one of the reasons for its effectiveness. Plus, it prevents soil erosion and helps conserve water too.
While some mulches are sprayed with chemicals and unsafe for pets, EZ-Straw is also biodegradable and all-natural, so it’s completely safe for children and pets alike.
- Organic Processed Straw W/Tackifier: Premium Processed Straw with a bonding agent (Tackifier) that gives straw a tackiness which holds it together. This natural bonding agent is biodegradable and helps to protect grass seed from heavy washout and wind.
- Straw Protects The Seed: The Straw Protects the grass seed from heavy washout, windy areas, birds and other animals
- Easy To Apply: Twice cut and processed for easy application
- Better Results: Tack Bonding agent gives straw a tackiness which holds it together. Speeds up germination. Water less often. 99% weed free
- Biodegradable: Biodegrades, no mess to clean up, just leave in place after the seed grows
- Safe And Convenient: Safe for pets and children. Conveniently bagged, Easy to handle package. Bag is UV protected plastic and can be stored outside.
- Easy to spread
- A little bit goes a long way
- Could be better at keeping away weeds
- Not very permanent
USA Premium Long Needle Pine Straw Mulch
Best Mulch for Busy Homeowners – Looking for something a bit more rustic? If so, USA Premium Long Needle Pine Straw Mulch might be the way to go. Ideal for flowerbeds and gardens, each piece measures 14 inches does an excellent job of retaining moisture in the soil without accumulating mold and fungi like other organic mulching materials.
It also provides an all-natural appearance that looks quite appealing to the eye. With an excellent coverage area of 240 sqaure feet per bale, a little bit definitely goes a long way.
Nonetheless, arguably the best aspect of this premium straw mulch is just how easy it is to spread. Forget loading, unloading, and spreading out dozens of heavy bags of wood chip mulch. This straw mulch is super lightweight and honestly refreshing to handle.
The company’s customer support is also top-notch, so you can feel free to reach out to them for any questions or problems you may have. In our experience, they’re more than happy to help.
- 14″ Premium Long Needle Pinestraw
- Excellent for Beds and Gardens
- Beautiful All Natural Color
- Covers up to 240 Sqft. – FIELD TESTED FOR ACCURACY
- Easy to Install
- Completely organic and super easy to spread
- Excellent quality
- Large coverage area
- Naturally resistant to mold and fungi
- Great customer service
- Can compact into the soil over time
If you want a great looking yard, mulch is a must. However, as you now know, no ordinary mulch will do. It all depends on your yard, location, and specific needs. In any case, one of the mulches in our Best Mulch Review Guide For 2020. is sure to do the job.