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Cypress Mulch Vs. Cedar Mulch

By Lisa Larsen ; Updated September 21, 2017
Learn the differences between cypress and cedar mulch.
pine bark mulch image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com

Mulch has been in use for hundreds of years, and comes in many forms. In recent years, mulches of cypress and cedar have risen in popularity and are used in the majority of landscaping projects. Both cypress and cedar mulch have benefits and drawbacks. Know about the mulch you choose.

What Is Mulch?

Mulch is any number of materials that are placed in flower beds, or around shrubbery and trees. Its purpose is to retain moisture, discourage the growth of weeds, and add a pleasing appearance to the landscape.

Types of Mulch

Many gardeners use dead leaves as mulch. Others use pine needles or hay. Pine bark is another type of mulch, as well as cypress, cedar, and even recycled rubber chips.

Cypress Pros

A 3-inch thick layer of cypress mulch is an effective weed control method when applied around plants. It also adds a natural finishing touch to your flower beds, lending a tasteful and appealing appearance.

Cypress Cons

In the late 1800s, cypress trees were vigorously harvested. By the early 1900s there were not any old-growth cypress forests remaining. Every cypress tree that is harvested further reduces the ability for the old-growth cypress to rebound. In addition, cypress mulch actually repels water, which means less water reaches the roots of the plants which the mulch surrounds.

Cedar Pros

Cedar mulch is an effective insect repellent. The aroma cedar produces actually comes from the oil in the cedar tree, and is distasteful to bugs. Also, cedar is a useful weed inhibitor when placed in flower beds, around shrubs, or around trees.

Cedar Cons

Although it is true that cedar mulch repels insects, it also repels insects that are helpful to your plants, such as ladybugs. In addition, due to the hardness of cedar, it does not break down and decompose quickly. This makes it more prone to mold growth in wet conditions.


About the Author


Lisa Larsen has been a professional writer for over 18 years. She has written radio advertisement copy, research papers, SEO articles, magazine articles for "BIKE," "USA Today" and "Dirt Rag," newspaper articles for "Florida Today" and short stories published in "Glimmer Train" and "Lullwater Review," among others. She has a master's degree in education and is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.