Landscaping With Red Mulch


Wood mulches come in a variety of colors from red to brown and black. The color may be natural if the wood of the source tree is red, such as red cedar, or the color may be augmented with pigments. Mulching helps to choke out weeds that compete for nutrients in a landscape as well as holding in moisture to the soil and reducing the need for frequent watering. As organic mulches, such as red wood mulch, decompose, they return more nutrients to the soil as well.

Step 1

Remove sod and topsoil in a 3-inch layer from your landscaping. This will make the level of the soil in the landscaping area lower than the rest of the yard.

Step 2

Create an edging trench between the landscaping and grass or soil. Cut the trench with a garden spade so that it is 6 inches wide and 4 inches deep.

Step 3

Measure particle size of red mulch, such as cedar. Apply small particle mulch in a 2-inch thick layer to allow oxygen, water and nutrients to penetrate to the soil. Apply larger particle mulch in a 4-inch layer.

Step 4

Dig up a fistful of soil and dampen it to the point that it is as wet as a wrung-out sponge. Squeeze the soil into a ball with your fist and then open your palm. If the soil remains in that shape it is heavy clay. If it falls apart, it is loamy or sandy. Only apply red mulch in a 2-inch-thick layer over heavy clay soil, to prevent the soil becoming waterlogged.

Step 5

Pull red mulch away from around tree and shrub trunks. When mulch mounds up around the trunks of trees or shrubs, it can create an environment for fungal diseases to slip beneath the bark.

Tips and Warnings

  • Rock mulch may also be painted red and used in a garden. Rock mulch spreads similarly to wood mulch, and can be used over landscape plastic. Rock mulch works best in areas where you will not plant living plants, because it holds heat and can cook the roots of plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Sod remover
  • Garden spade
  • Measuring tape


  • Colorado State University Extension: Mulching with Wood/Bark Chips, Grass Clippings, and Rock
  • University of Florida IFAS Extension: Reducing Herbicide Rates in Containerized Nurseries with Allelopathic Wood Chips
  • NC State University: Mulching Trees and Shrubs

Who Can Help

  • Ohio State University: Mulching Landscape Plants
Keywords: red cedar mulch, using wood mulch, mulching flower beds

About this Author

Tracy S. Morris has been a freelance writer since 2000. She has published two novels and numerous online articles. Her work has appeared in national magazines and newspapers, including "Ferrets," "CatFancy," "Lexington Herald Leader" and "The Tulsa World."