Strive These 13 Pure Mulches & Ditch the Dyed Bark and Rubber!

Don’t even take into consideration getting that brilliant crimson mulch when there are such a lot of higher, extra cheap natural supplies you should utilize as a substitute! Let me clarify pure mulch and the totally different supplies you should utilize to mulch the backyard.

straw natural mulch in the garden

Mulch is a phrase you hear typically within the gardening area. We use it loads, from suppressing weeds to conserving moisture to creating the highest layer of our backyard look good.

What many individuals consider after they image mulch is the basic bits of wooden shavings and items. It’s typically a pleasant pure cedar that smells heavenly or…heaven forbid…dyed crimson.

However that is actually just one sort of mulch. And it’s one of many costlier ones!

At present, I wish to discuss to you all concerning the pure mulches we will use in our backyard and why they’re a a lot better possibility than the stuff you purchase on the panorama provide retailer.

Pure mulch is likely one of the many practices you’ll discover in my ebook, The Regenerative Backyard. In the event you’re in search of extra concepts on how one can flip the standard backyard up on its head in lieu of extra sustainable areas, be sure you test it out!

What’s Pure Mulch?

Mulch sits on prime of the soil and acts as a protecting layer of natural materials. Whereas most consider wooden for mulch, there are various extra pure supplies you should utilize as mulch (I’ll get into that shortly!).

Like I mentioned, many individuals use unnatural mulches like plastic, shredded tires, or dyed bark. These can leech contaminants into your backyard and simply aren’t price it when there are such a lot of different pure supplies that you should utilize as a mulch.

I joke about dyed mulch on a regular basis. I feel it’s one of many worst issues so as to add to a backyard! I see it as lawful evil, the place it’s widespread and accepted however actually not a good suggestion for the setting.

In the meantime, my technique of chop and drop mulching is chaotic good. If I see plant materials, I scoop it up and put it within the backyard.

Some folks can have points with this. I bear in mind the realtor taking one have a look at my final home and all of the plant materials within the backyard beds and suggesting I prime it off with soil as a substitute.

However I all the time ask, do you just like the forest? As a result of that’s what we’re going for. You possibly can have a neat and tidy look that fashions a lounge or a pure area that mimics our forests.

leaving behind fallen debris as natural mulch
Mulches are extremely widespread with permaculturalists due to their regenerative properties for soil.

Advantages of Pure Mulch

Mulch has SO many advantages, lots of which you may not get in case you use store-bought stuff as a substitute of what’s already in your backyard.

Mulch is a soil insulator that works year-round. It helps to preserve the soil temperature extra constant, that means it could possibly assist shield the bottom of crops, roots, and bulbs within the winter months but in addition preserve issues cooler throughout the scorching summer time days.

It additionally helps to preserve moisture, which could be very useful for full solar areas. It reduces your want so as to add supplemental water on a regular basis by stopping floor evaporation.

You probably have a weed downside, you may as well apply a layer of mulch to stop the seeds from getting mild and germinating.

Lastly, it can decompose slowly and add vitamins again into your soil. I by no means add any fertilizer to my backyard beds, permitting nothing however my layers of mulch and compost to return in and feed the soil.

natural leaf mulch in an urban woody setting
A pure forest ground is roofed in mulch.

What to Use as Pure Mulch

So, what are you able to truly use out of your backyard that may work as a pure mulch? I’ve obtained loads of concepts for you, and in case you nonetheless need the neat and tidy look, a few of these can nonetheless offer you that. Strive one among these 13 pure supplies that make great mulches.


Compost is what I exploit essentially the most in my backyard, and it seems like contemporary, darkish soil. I wish to add about two inches of compost within the spring earlier than the rising season actually begins. The spring rain may also assist water the microorganisms into the soil under.

scoop of compost
Compost is backyard gold to your backyard.

Leaf Mould

By no means, ever bag your leaves in plastic luggage and ship it to the dump. As an alternative, use the leaf mould of partially decomposed or chopped leaves as mulch. It breaks down fairly shortly and works splendidly in vegetable gardens.

That is greatest executed within the fall when you may pile your dried leaves, wait a couple of weeks for them to start composting, after which chop them up with a shear or a garden mower to sprinkle over your backyard mattress.

fallen leaves on the ground
Solely use leaves free from pests and illness.

Wooden Chips

Wooden chips are very talked-about for individuals who need a neat and tidy look. Simply PLEASE don’t purchase the dyed stuff because it’s not good to your backyard and soil.

Wooden chips will final for a number of seasons and are sometimes cheap and available when purchased from an arborist or native supply. As they slowly break down, they feed useful fungi and create a robust mycelium layer.


One other widespread tidy possibility is to make use of ornamental rocks comparable to river stones, gravel, or volcanic rock. After all, they received’t decompose. They don’t add useful microbes or micro organism however will forestall water loss.

Understand that it can take in and maintain warmth and chilly. A layer of cardboard beneath the rocks may also help.

Pine Straw/Conifer Needles

Take a web page of out woodland gardens and permit the cones and needles out of your evergreens to stay the place they fall. You can even unfold it to neighbouring gardening beds.

pine needles and pine cones on forest floor as natural mulch
Woodland perennials love this mulch.


Many rural homesteads will use straw, contemplating how available it’s. Simply keep away from hay, as it could possibly include weed seeds!

It’s useful to use straw within the fall as an insulator and take away it within the spring, adopted by a brand new layer of compost.

sheet mulching with straw on a large garden bed
Use straw to create a robust layer of winter safety for annual crops, tender perennials, timber, and shrubs.


Individuals love utilizing cardboard because it’s free, and all of us have a number of it. Use cardboard as winter safety for backyard beds in wet areas to stop vitamins from leaching from the soil. Ensure to take away the cardboard sheets within the spring and compost them.

You should utilize cardboard at different instances of the yr; simply make sure that to interrupt it into small items so the soil nonetheless will get some airflow.

cardboard mulching
Carboard acts as a carbon supply.

Grass Clippings

Your garden would adore it in case you left the grass clippings after shifting. They’ll slowly break down and create a soil-protecting mulch that may feed the grass’s roots. Letting your grass flower can even assist to reseed your garden!

green lawn
In the event you’re mowing, you would possibly as effectively feed the garden with the grass clippings.

Residing Mulch

Groundcovers can present lots of the similar advantages of different natural materials. Plant low-growing perennial and native crops no larger than 12 inches. Ideally, guarantee they’re hardy sufficient to be evenly tread upon so you continue to have entry to the crops within the backyard.

ground cover plants
Groundcovers look great in gardening beds that aren’t typically disrupted.

Chop and Drop

That is one other one among my favorite pure mulch strategies. Everytime you in the reduction of plant materials, you allow it on the soil floor to decompose in place.

The leaves, stems, and flower heads will then feed the roots of their very own sort, mimicking how they fertilize the soil in nature. Simply keep away from crops which have gone to seed, except you plan for these seeds to develop.

chop and drop natural mulch
Within the fall, prime your chop and drop with leaf mould and compost for a robust base to decompose come spring.


Many received’t think about snow mulch, however this can be very helpful for shielding the soil temperature and plant roots in chilly climates. There’s no want to maneuver snow; simply enable it to fall and sit in your backyard beds on a snowy day.

rosemary in the snow
Snow protects backyard beds from dips in temperature.

Aquatic Vegetation

You probably have a water backyard setting, you may add your vigorous and even invasive aquatic crops to dry land gardens. As a result of the circumstances are too dry, they are going to decompose and shield the soil.

wildlife pond from the regenerative garden
Skinny overgrown aquatic crops and use them as mulch on dry land.


You probably have a seaside backyard, seaweed works effectively as a mulch the place the crops can deal with salt spray and salt accumulation within the soil. Forage for seaweed sustainably, and solely take what you want from the seashore relatively than within the ocean. Chop it or run it over with a mower earlier than making use of it to the backyard.

garden with dried plant debris on soil

These are some nice pure mulch concepts to strive! Within the feedback under, let me know which ones you utilize in your backyard or are planning to make use of.

Extra Methods to Strive Regenerative Gardening

Try These 13 Natural Mulches & Ditch the Dyed Bark and Rubber!

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