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Types Of Mulch


Spring is here, and that means many homeowners are considering landscaping projects to improve the appearance and value of their home. Like pioneers hundreds of years before them, today's homeowner is likely to include mulch to form a natural protective layer between the grass and the soil. While there are various kinds of natural and synthetic mulches available today, all serve these basic functions:

  • To suppress the growth of weeds
  • To protect against extremes in temperature
  • To reduce soil water losses

Before buying a specific type of mulch, homeowners need to ensure that it supplies the soil with organic material, stays in place, and doesn't contain insects, weeds, or diseases. There are also several different types of mulch to consider, including the following:

  • Chocolate mulch is derived from roasted cocoa beans. During the roasting process, the shell is sterilized when it is separated from the bean. The shell is organic and free of weeds, making it an ideal ingredient for mulch. However, homeowners with pets need to supervise them carefully as ingesting chocolate mulch can be toxic.
  • Hardwood mulch is created from the bark of oak and maples trees. It compacts over time and doesn't blow away easily, which makes it a good choice for landscaping on a steeped hill.
  • Pine bark mulch is taken from pine tree logs and then ground down. It typically comes with several different sizes of pine bark. Because this type of mulch is non-porous and lightweight, it should be placed on flat surfaces so it doesn't wash away.
  • Ruby red mulch is a type of dyed mulch that many homeowners choose for its bright color contrast against green grass. It's important to check the ingredients to make sure that it doesn't have any harmful petrochemical dyes.
  • Western red cedar mulch comes from the bark of cedar trees. Its light and airy fine texture makes it an ideal mulch for annuals, perennials, and other small plants.

In addition to selling and installing mulch, staff at The Lawnsmith is happy to help homeowners choose the right type for their budget and landscaping needs. Get a free estimate on our mulching services!


Mulch Installation


Minnesota is known for its extremes in temperatures, from the bitter cold days of January to the sweltering sun of July. Because these vast climate differences can be rough on plants, gardens, and landscaping in general, we at The Lawnsmith recommend installing mulch or replenishing mulch that has dried up or blown away. Mulch offers numerous benefits, regardless of the specific type installed. 

Some of these benefits include:

  • Prevents evaporation of water from the soil.
  • Mulched plants produce deeper and more plentiful roots.
  • As long as the mulch itself is weed-free, it prevents the growth of weeds in and around the area where it has been installed.
  • Mulch comes in a variety of colors, which allows the homeowner to choose one that is most aesthetically pleasing to him or her.
  • Installing mulch helps to prevent soil compaction.
  • Since mulch keeps soil warm in winter and cool in summer, it helps to maintain a more consistent soil temperature.
  • When mulch is installed, it guards tree trunks and shrubs from damage by lawn care equipment.
  • Mulch stops soil from splashing, which in turn prevents erosion and soil-borne diseases.
  • Mulch improves the movement and of water into the soil by preventing crusting on the surface.
  • When organic mulch is used, it can improve the condition of the soil structure. After the mulch decays, it becomes topsoil and adds nutrients to all of the soil layers.

Spring is the Ideal Time for New Mulching
Late April or early May is a great time to install mulching for the first time or to replenish what has been covered by snow for the past several months. The Lawnsmith offers free estimates for installation services in addition to providing feedback to homeowners on the best type of mulch to buy for their yards.