Top 7 Best Mulches In 2021 (ULTIMATE BUYING GUIDE)

Hey, quick question! Are you tired of your plants drying out too quickly? Have you considered giving your soil proper nutrition!

Here is the science behind it. When plants continue to grow on a piece of land, they suck up its natural nutrients. The soil bed, thus, becomes deprived of its nutrients and becomes infertile.

But is there any way around it? Of course, there is! You can efficiently improve your soil moisture by giving it proper nutrition. Soil has its source of nutrition, called mulch.

Mulch is a combination of organic material that improves fertility, locks the moisture, and reduces weed growth when applied to the surface of the soil. Moreover, mulch gives the area an appealing look.

Top 3 Best Mulches from 7 Choices

In simpler terms, mulch is a terrific method to transform your yard and landscaping from drab to fab, spending minimal time and money. After you've chosen the perfect plants, prepped flower beds, and planted seeds in your garden, adding mulch may bring it all together.

Now, the market is diverse when it comes to mulch. In fact, studies have shown that the global mulching market value will exceed three billion USD by the end of 2021. But not all the mulches available in the market are worth buying, are they?

The Best Garden Wood Mulches

You want to invest in the best mulch for your garden to give it the nourishment it deserves. What if you use the wrong product only to waste your efforts and money, or worse, to deteriorate the existing condition of your yard?

But fret not! As I have composed this entire post to help you select the best mulch for your garden. Read on, and you will find reviews for the seven best mulches along with a complete guide to buying mulches. Let's get started!

Here is Our Top 7 Best Mulches Review

If you haven't used mulch in your garden, you're losing out on a lot of the benefits that this horticultural secret weapon has to offer. The best mulch will transform your landscape from zilch to zenith in no time. Mulch may also convert a boring landscaping bed into a visually appealing garden place.

However, mulch is much more than just dumping it in the garden. To achieve the best effects, choose a high-quality product and apply it correctly. Reviewed below are the top seven best mulches for your garden from which you can choose!

Product 1: Editor's Pick: EZ Straw Mulch 2.5 CF

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Why It Stands Out to Us

The EZ Straw Mulch 2.5 CF is the best mulch to buy if you are concerned about excessive weed growth in your garden. This all-natural mulch strikes the perfect balance between cost, utility, and quality.

It's a vivid brown color that develops naturally without the use of chemicals or dyes. As a result, the color is natural and won't fade over time.

Our Experience with It

This mulch did not disappoint us.

  1. Firstly, we found it a fantastic product to spread over grass seed and soil. The EZ Straw Mulch 2.5 CF has made it to my go-to mulching products list whenever I need to enrich my soil.
  2. Secondly, don't be deceived because it is called seeding straw; it doesn't contain grass seeds in it! I made an assumption and sat around wondering why I didn't have any grass growing. However, it was not the company's fault because they didn't say so while advertising the mulch. But yeah, it did great when I spread it over grass seed.
  3. Moreover, I was stunned by how far one bag went. It was like they gave us an unlimited supply. Furthermore, the product chops nicely, so it is effortless to prepare. I found it worth the price as compared to using regular hay bale.
  4. The EZ Straw Mulch 2.5 CF is easy to spread, especially if you follow the exact directions. I sprayed it with water after laying it on the ground, and the bonding agent activated perfectly.
  5. Furthermore, I was amazed by the quality of the product. I laid it on the freshly seeded ground, just before a rainstorm. And couldn't believe that more than 85% of it stayed in its place after all the pressurized water. So, needless to say, that the stuff goes a long way.
  6. Lastly, I loved the fact that it kept my dog off the yard. So, while it is pricier than a bale of hay, it is an excellent investment that provides the ultimate coverage and holds up to rain and heavy winds well.

What We Didn't Like

The only concern we had with the EZ Straw Mulch 2.5 CF was to prep it in an unventilated area. You can, however, prepare it on your lawn as well, but be prepared to have straw glued all over your hair and clothes when you're done.

What Could Be Improved

The manufacturers can upgrade this product up a notch and introduce a chopped variety.

Pros
  • Glues perfectly
  • Easy to spread
  • Covers a wide area
  • Tough on weed growth
  • Keeps dog feet off
  • Convenient to use
  • Protects seeding
Cons
  • Can cause a hassle in chopping
  • High-end price

Product 2: Best for Landscapes: FoberDust CoCo Mulch

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Why It Stands Out to Us

The FiberDust CoCo Mulch made it to our list of seven best mulches because it is 100% organic fiber mulch. Don't jump to conclusions just by finding the term 'dust' in the brand name because you won't find a single particle of dust in the whole packet.

It is made up of coconut husks and contains no additives. The FiberDust CoCo Mulch is the perfect mulching product for those who want substantial mulch for their pots and landscape beds.

Our Experience with It

  1. We found this mulch better than most of the commercial mulches that we've tried. It retards weed growth, improves moisture retentiveness in soil, stays in place, and gives a beautiful texture to the ground.
  2. Secondly, prepping the mulch was a fun task. I transferred the product into a wheelbarrow and added water to it little by little. Watching the brick absorb the water was so satisfying that I didn't even mind the 30 minutes that went into the process.
  3. Moreover, carrying the prepped mulch to spread it over eh soil was also pretty easy. It worked great for my garden bed; I couldn't find a single weed in sight. The beautiful color is a plus!
  4. Another thing that I loved was that you can store the prepped material for your next project. So rest assured you will have zero waste guaranteed.

What We Didn't Like

Apart from the price, I suppose the fact that this mulch is toxic to dogs can be a significant concern for dog owners.

What Could Be Improved

The manufacturers can work on making the product more expandable so that it covers a larger surface area.

Pros
  • 100% organic
  • Compact packaging
  • Zero waste
  • Spreads easily
Cons
  • Not suitable for large areas
  • Too expensive

Product 3: Best Budget: Rubberific Rubber Mulch Bagged Brown

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Why It Stands Out to Us

When buying the Rubberific Rubber Mulch, we expected to receive a product that neither fades nor deteriorates. And I have got to say that Rubberific Rubber Mulch exceeded all our expectations.

Our Experience with It

  1. We found the Rubberific Rubber Mulch an excellent choice for our landscaping beds. The product perfectly blended into the soil, thanks to its dark-brown color. Moreover, it stayed intact even after its exposure o sun and water.
  2. Furthermore, we found the Rubberific Rubber Mulch an excellent one-time investment as it does not break down. The product is long-lasting and requires very little maintenance.
  3. Unlike other inorganic rock mulches, we found the Rubberific Rubber Mulch easy to spread and more appealing. Other than that, it does a fantastic job of keeping weeds at bay. It is the best mulch to be used as a top dressing over soil and even in non-planting areas of the landscape.

What We Didn't Like

The hefty price tag greatly bothered us while we were placing an order. However, keeping in mind that rubber mulches tend to be more costly than all-natural compounds and that they last for years, the price is justified.

Another thing which concerned us and still does is that one bag of the Rubberific Rubber Mulch that we ordered came finely shredded, while the other in chunks. We later discovered that a lot of customers are facing the same issue.

What Could Be Improved

The company could try bringing uniformity in the texture of the Rubberific Rubber Mulch.

Pros
  • Long-lasting product
  • Easy to spread
  • Visually appealing
  • Prevents weeding
Cons
  • More payment up-front

Product 4: Best for Indoor Plants: Four Winds Trading Natural Cedar Shavings

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Why It Stands Out To Us

We ordered the Four Winds Trading Natural Cedar Shavings on a recommendation to get rid of pesky pests. And might I mention that the product earned its spot on our list of seven best mulches.

Our Experience with It

  1. There is a lot to say about the Four Winds Trading Natural Cedar Shavings Mulch. First off, the scent! We were in love with the smell. It was so appealing to us humans, but it is precisely what keeps the pests away.
  2. Secondly, these cedar chips kept the air fresh and kept the soil weed-free and moisture retentive.
  3. Moreover, we loved that Four Winds Trading has given customers multiple-sized packaging to choose from. We got the 8-quart bag which was more than enough for our collection of indoor plants. However, you can get the 16-quart bag of cedar shavings to cover a larger surface area.
  4. Another thing that made the Four Winds Trading Natural Cedar Shavings our go-to mulching product was its dual functionality. Not only can you use it as mulch, but you can also store it in a mesh bag and keep it in your closet to keep the insects from destroying your wool clothing.

What We Didn't Like

The Four Winds Trading Natural Cedar Shavings lost their aroma after being kept in the closet for a few weeks.

What Could Be Improved

In our opinion, the company can work on its formula to make the scent a little stronger to work more effectively and for longer.

Pros
  • Affordable product
  • Pleasant cedar scent
  • Doubles as an insect repellent
  • Gives the garden an appealing look
  • Dual functionality
Cons
  • Can blow away in the wind
  • Scent fades away after some time

Product 5: Best for Lawn: Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets Protective Flooring

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Why It Stands Out to Us

We found the Playsafer Rubber Mulch Nuggets an excellent product for those parents who want to make their gardens a safe area for their kids to play and roam around in.

If you are looking for a product to line your kids' play areas with, the Playsafe Rubber Mulch Nuggets are the ones to invest in.

Our Experience with It

  1. Look-wise, the Playsafe Rubber Mulch Nuggets scored a ten out of ten. They are available in forty-pound bags and are available in six color options. The color is guaranteed to last for twelve years, which means that you won't have to replace these just because their color faded.
  2. Moreover, the longevity of the product impressed us. The Playsafe Rubber Mulch Nuggets are made of recycled tires. The company claims that they neither decompose nor compress. Thus, they don't need to be reapplied.
  3. Another great thing about the Playsafe Rubber Mulch Nuggets is that they don't freeze even in freezing temperatures. So consider these a one-tie investment to make your playground always at the disposal of the young ones.
  4. The best part about the Playsafe Rubber Mulch Nuggets is that they are entirely eco-friendly. You can use them as protective flooring for playgrounds one day and as weed-suppressing bedding for plants the other.

What We Didn't Like

The only concern we had with the Playsafe Rubber Mulch Nuggets was that it didn't cover enough surface area as we expected. I had to order a few more bags, but needless to say, the additional purchase was worth it.

What Could Be Changed

We think that the company can enlarge the sizes of each individual nugget so that they can give more coverage than the existing ones.

Pros
  • Excellent color retention
  • Durable design
  • Reusable
  • Easy to use
  • Eco-friendly
  • Available in six attractive colors
Cons
  • Too small for the size of nuggets

Product 6: Best Recyclable: Plow and Hearth 55632 Rubber Garden Mulch

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Why It Stands Out to Us

If you want a product that does not require reapplication and extra precaution, then the Plow and Hearth 55632 Rubber Garden Mulch is the one to buy!

The Plow and Hearth 55632 Rubber Garden Mulch functions like any other mulch; it locks moisture in the soil beneath and blocks the weeds from getting sunlight.

Our Experience with It

  1. We used the Plow and Hearth 55632 Rubber Garden Mulch to line along our driveway. Our expectations with it were that it would keep the concrete edge separated from the grassy patches. The product met all of our expectations and even delivered more.
  2. It made cleaning the driveway edge so much easier. Before implanting the Plow and Hearth 55632 Rubber Garden Mulch, we had to clear the joint border, remove the roots and weeds, add the soil and smooth the edges. Now, we just have to brush the dirt off the mulch or simply wash it!
  3. Moreover, the durability of the product is another plus point. This particular product is about an inch thick. We landscaped throughout the quarantine period and found it the most effective for reducing weed growth.

What We Didn't Like

The fact that the Plow and Hearth 55632 Rubber Garden Mulch had to be tacked down is the only thing we didn't like. I found 'stapling' it down every couple of feet apart a bit of a hassle. And the incident where my lawnmower sucked the unstapled end and chopped a piece off of it was kind of a bummer.

What Could Be Improved

Honestly, I wouldn't suggest the company change anything about the product.

Pros
  • Recycled permanent mulch
  • One-time investment
  • Gives a natural woody effect
  • Allows air to pass through
  • Looks neat
  • Stops unwanted weed growth
Cons
  • Not safe for pets

Product 7: Best for Flower Beds: NuPlay Rubber Nuggets

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Why It Stands Out to Us

The NuPlay Rubber Nuggets are an excellent choice if you are looking for a long-lasting, safe to use a mulching product for your gardens.

Our Experience with It

  1. We tested this product out on a friend's recommendation and haven't stopped flexing about the one project we pulled off with it. It neither breaks down nor fades, which means no excess spending on removing the old ones for new ones.
  2. Moreover, the NuPlay Rubber Nuggets considerably reduced weed growth in my flower beds. It gives a neat and clean look and a great pop of color.
  3. Furthermore, the mulch is extremely easy to handle. And the longevity is exceptional. We couldn't even imagine how much we would have to spend on other organic mulch, which we have successfully saved with the NuPlay Rubber Nuggets.

What We Didn't Like

The product had a funny smell to it, which bothered us a little. Even though it faded away after some time, we could smell it again when summers arrived.

What Could Be Improved

While the product itself is perfect in all aspects, I can suggest to the company by looking at the reviews online to work on their customer service.

Pros
  • Perfect size
  • Available in five fantastic colors
  • Long-lasting
  • Recycled from waste tires
  • Non-flammable
Cons
  • Have a funny smell to them

What Should I Consider When Buying Mulch?

The demand for packaged mulch has increased rapidly during the quarantine period. It turns out people devoted their free time to their gardens!

Considering the positive impacts of good mulch use in lawns and gardens, industry experts predict that the demand for mulch will increase by 3% per year by 2024.

Thus, the estimated industry value would exceed $760 million in around three years.

Considering the existing scope of the mulching industry, it is not difficult to recognize that the market contains mulches of varying qualities.

What Should I Consider When Buying Mulch?

It can be hectic for novice garden maintainers to select good-quality mulch. But the process can be simplified if you know exactly what you are looking for in your mulch. 

Here is a comprehensive buying guide on the things you should consider before buying mulch:

1- Purpose

If you bear in mind the purpose of buying mulch, you will find it easy to sort the various brands out. As yourself the following questions before heading out on your hunt for the best mulch:

Why do I need mulch?

What are my garden’s mulching requirements?

What are the issues that I want to resolve with mulch?

Once you get the answers to these questions, you will find it easier to sort the various brands out and shortlist the best ones.

For example, if you need mulch only to overcome extensive weed growth in your garden, you will shorten your list to the best ones for weed control.

2- Size

While purchasing mulch for your garden, evaluate the size of the area, which requires work. If your garden is spread across a wide area, you will need to buy an oversized packaging of mulch or more quantities of the regular packaging.

3- Type

Mulch can be categorized into two main types; organic and inorganic. You can find organic mulch in the following forms in the market:

What are the types of mulches?
  1. Shredded bark
  2. Straw
  3. Compost
  4. Pine or Cedar Bark Chips
  5. On the other hand, inorganic mulch is available in the following forms:
  6. Stone and brick chips
  7. Plastic
  8. Rubber mulch
  9. Landscape fabric

Which one is best for you depends upon the requirements of your landscape. You will have to do proper research before you decide which mulch will best satisfy your needs.

4- Time

The next you need to consider when buying mulch is the time it takes to break down and fully activate. This time frame varies as per the different types of mulch.

Here is a list of the estimated time each type of mulch takes to break down:

  • Shredded Bark Mulch – 7 to 10 years
  • Straw Mulch – 1 to 2 years
  • Compost Mulch – 3 months to 2 years
  • Pine or Cedar Bark Chips Mulch – 4 to 7 years

As the mulch decomposes over time, it transfers its nutrients to the soil, making it moisture retentive and more fertile. You will have to lay down another layer of mulch after some time, but the previous one will continue to do its job.

However, garden experts consider the shredded bark the best type of mulch because it decomposes slower than the rest.

5- Texture

Moreover, you will need to determine which texture of mulch works best for you. Garden experts suggest that shredded bark is the best as it sticks to sloped surfaces better than the other kinds.

However, if you have a flat landscape, you can go for compost or straw, giving the space a better appearance.

6- Nutrients

The most common purpose is to fertilize the soil. To achieve this purpose, you will have to buy mulch that is rich in nutrients.

Mulch is made up of recycled plant material, like leaves, twigs, buds, barks, flowers, and plant debris is the most nutritious kind.

Mulch for Nutrients

Listed below are some of the types of mulch that provide the most nutrition to your soil:

  • Pine bark mulch
  • Cedar bark mulch
  • Cypress
  • Hardwood
  • 7- Preventions

You Garden Needs "MAINTENANCE"

Just like your garden requires maintenance, so does your mulch! Even though mulch requires very little maintenance, you should occasionally follow these tips to care for your mulch:

  1. Check the depth of your mulch (it should be around two to four inches deep)
  2. Add a thin layer of fresh mulch over faded mulch
  3. Remove any ingrown weeds
  4. Mix and turn the mulch and break up clustered pieces
  5. Prevent it from washing away
  6. Mulch properly twice a year

8- Safety

Safety is another essential factor to examine when buying mulch. When it comes to safety, I recommend that you go for organic mulch. While inorganic mulches also do an excellent job in improving the quality of your soil, they contain chemicals that can be hazardous for children and animals alike.

What is the Best mulch?

All the following types of organic mulches enrich your soil without compromising on safety:

  • Compost mulch
  • Shredded bark mulch
  • Grass clippings
  • Straw mulch.

9- Price

Needless to mention that another essential thing that you should consider while buying mulch for your garden is the price. Now, keep in mind that even a single bag of good quality mulch goes a long way.

So, if you have the budget, I suggest that you go for high-priced mulch. Otherwise, you can even find good-quality mulch at affordable prices at the stores.

10- Brand

If you treat your garden as your child and want the best for it, you will also have to consider the brand of mulch you are buying. Now, this solely depends upon your preference.

Try using mulches from different brands, and then settle on one that worked best for you.

FAQs for Mulch

Frequently Asked Questions

Now that we have discussed all the necessary information about mulches, you must have some queries in your mind.

To save you the hassle of typing them in the comments section and waiting for a reply, I have included the most frequently asked questions below. 

So, let's not waste any more time jumping on to another critical topic in this article – the FAQs.

Q: What is mulch?

A: Mulch is a substance applied to the soil's surface. It is used to conserve soil moisture, improve soil fertility and health, reduce weed growth, and improve visual appeal.

Q: What are the types of mulches?

A: In general, mulch material can be divided into two types: organic and inorganic. Organic mulch material is the most common type. Mulches originating from plant sources such as compost, grass clippings, and other similar materials are organic.

In contrast, mulches derived from plastic or other related resources are referred to as inorganic.

Q: Which type of mulch is the best?

A: both organic and inorganic mulches have their pros and cons. Inorganic mulches last comparatively longer than organic mulches. Moreover, they don't break down and are suitable for permanent garden plants, beds, and paths.

However, organic mulches are safer than inorganic ones because they are formed from recycled natural material. Which type of mulch is the best depends upon what you prefer more – longevity or safety.

Q: When is the best time to mulch?

A: The ideal time for mulching your garden in mid to late spring. Spring is when the soil regains its original warmth after the freezing winter temperatures.

So, when you mulch it in spring, you achieve the best results.

Q: Which mulch is best to prevent weeds?

A: While all the various kinds of mulches do a great job at enriching the soil with nutrients, some mulch is better at doing certain things than the others.

Which mulch is best to prevent weeds?

For example, straw mulch is best for vegetative growth but contains a significant amount of weed seeds. However, bark mulch is the best option for people who want to suppress weed growth.

Firstly, bark mulch prevents currently inhabiting weeds from growing further.

Secondly, it acts as a layer on top of the soil that deprives the seedlings of sunlight, on which they thrive.

Q: What is the best type of mulch to use in a flower bed?

A: If you want a flower garden at your home, we suggest that you go for aged hardwood mulch. Wood mulch that has been properly seasoned is the best mulch for flower beds since it decomposes and adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down. Moreover, it should be applied in a light layer.

Softwood mulch, which is typically comprised of pine, might contribute a little too much acidity to the soil and does not break down quickly.

Q: Is it necessary to remove old mulch?

A: As mulch breaks down and decomposes into the soil to refine its quality, removing the old one is unnecessary. You can simply lay down a new layer over the old one.

Removing old mulch every year results in more work and expenditure that is neither required nor desired.

Just make sure to judge the amount of new layering by determining the thickness of the existing mulch.

Q: Should you mulch every year?

A: Mulching depends upon the time your mulch takes to decompose. Generally, you should have around three inches of mulch over your soil bed.

Industry experts suggest that even the best quality mulch should be layered twice a year, once in spring and fall. If not, then mulch at least once a year.

Q: Do mice like mulch?

A: The most straightforward answer is yes! Mice and their relatives find shelter in mulch. Especially if you are using organic mulch like straw, wood chips, and leaves, you will have to figure out a way to tackle the mice situation.

The Mice is Eating Mulch

You can use traps and pest control medicines to limit their entry into your garden. However, there will be no guarantee that the mice won't invade your garden.

Q: Is all mulch organic?

A: No! Mulches can be categorized as organic and inorganic. While the majority you find in the market is made of organic compounds like bark chips, grass clippings, straw, compost, and rice hulls, you can also get inorganic mulch in plastic sheeting, rubber chips, landscape fabric, etc.

Conclusion

Mulch saves time in the garden, whether it's flower beds or vegetable gardens. While mulching is a chore, it has many benefits: When appropriately used, mulch reduces watering, weeding, and insect control time.

As a result, it provides you with healthier fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Try these seven best mulches out for yourself and save a considerable amount of time while DIYing to achieve your ideal garden space.

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