The Scoop on Mulch

Updated on May 11, 2022

Nothing refreshes a garden quite like a fresh layer of wood mulch.  The benefits of mulch include moisture retention, weed suppression, aroma, and darn it. . . it’s just good.   However, we know it can get confusing with all the different types of mulch.  Here is a list of different wood mulches and the benefits of each.

Shredded Hardwood Bark

This is our most popular mulch.  Hardwood bark is a locally produced product that is a 100% byproduct of timber industry waste.  The bark may be composed of Oak, Maple, Aspen, or other hardwood trees.  Benefits include low cost, nice brown color, environmentally sound (locally produced from byproducts), and it decomposes to a beautiful compost.  Drawbacks include longevity (loses color in one season, needs to be top-dressed every 1 or 2 years), and color variability depending on what tree type was going through the mill at that time.  Shredded hardwood bark is only available in bulk via pick up or delivery.

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Western Red Cedar Mulch

Western Red Cedar is a popular mulch from the  Western US or Canada.  Western Red Cedar is similar to hardwood mulch but, you guessed it, is made from Cedar trees.  Also, this mulch has shredded wood component as well as bark.  All Cedar mulches are not equal and we feel Western Red Cedar is superior to other types of Cedar mulch.  Benefits include beautiful reddish/orange color, “ode to the north woods” aroma, and longevity of 50-100% longer than hardwood.  The main drawback is price (over double hardwood).  Western Red Cedar is available in bulk or bags.

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Dyed Hardwood Mulch

This is similar to Hardwood mulch, however, it does have a higher content of wood (vs. all bark).  The main difference with the dyed mulches is that an actual paint is kiln dried onto the mulch.  This leads to a noticeable color that lasts longer than straight hardwood bark.  Pros are noticeable color and increased longevity.  Cons can be noticeable color (some people like it, some don’t) and fading of color.  Dyed mulches are available in Chocolate, Black, or Red color and only in bulk.

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Red Dyed Hardwood Mulch
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Chocolate Dyed Hardood Mulch

Shredded Cypress Mulch

Cypress mulch comes from the swamps of the SE United States. Benefits include being the longest-lasting mulch on the market, being naturally insect repellant, and fairly good color.  Drawbacks are cost for Grade A, freight miles, and possible environmental consequences of harvesting trees out of wetland areas.   Cypress mulch is only available in bags.

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Wood Chips

Wood chips are produced locally from byproduct wood from lumber mills.  They are 100% wood content with no bark, as the name implies.  Wood chips are often used for playgrounds although they can also be used as landscape mulch.  The main benefits are an attractive appearance and long life.  The drawbacks are rapid loss of color to grey, and a tendency to wash or blow away.  Wood chips are only available in bulk.

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Chunk Pine Bark

Chunk Pine Bark comes from the Western United States and is available only in bags.  There are four sizes of “chunks” available; large, medium, small, and extra small.  The benefits are attractive dark color and aroma.  The drawbacks are price and the tendency to wash or blow away.

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Spring is a great time to freshen up your landscape with a new layer of mulch.  Sargent’s has all of these mulches available, as well as many rock mulches and soil amendments for pick up or delivery. Orders can be placed in-person, via phone, or online.

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