Bark Mulch Facts


In gardening, mulching is a beneficial way to make sure that plants remain healthy. Mulch is any kind of material that is placed on top of the surface of soil in order to protect it against erosion, moisture loss due to evaporation and growth of weeds. Bark mulch is a type of plant-based mulch that can be purchased at most garden supply shops.


Mulch application is useful for various different reasons, including helping soil conserve water, keeping down weeds and enriching the quality of the soil with time. Gardens that have been mulched also tend to have a neater and more even appearance. Bark mulch is particularly beneficial because it quickly breaks down. As a result, it's capable of enriching the soil without trapping either water or nutrients inside of the mulch.

Bark Types

Three popular bark types used in bark mulch are pine, cypress and cedar. The bark is broken down into small chips, and it can also be ground down into finer, softer material. Some bark mulch is dyed, while some is naturally colored. For smaller plants, a finer variety of bark mulch is necessary. (Larger chips can be visually overpowering when surrounding small plants.)


Bark mulch should be applied approximately at the depth of a finger. The mulch should be evenly distributed by raking. It is also crucial to provide the plants with breathing space, and not to overwhelm them with surrounding mulch. Mulch must be allowed to completely break down before a new layer is placed. Layer upon layer of mulch can raise acidity levels, which is harmful to the plants, as it can trap nutrients and water.

Plant Needs

Gardeners need to think over the requirements of their plants before picking out the appropriate bark type for their mulch. There are acidic varieties of bark mulch, which can be dangerous to plants that do well in alkaline or neutral circumstances. It is important to be aware of the pH levels of mulch before making a purchase.

Free Mulch

Although bark mulch can easily be bought at garden supply shops and garden centers, for those on a budget, it isn't difficult to find it for free. Road workers often shred up overhanging branches from roadsides, and turn it into a course mulch. Oftentimes, they give this mulch away.

Keywords: bark mulch, cedar mulch, pine mulch

About this Author

Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.