How To Choose The Best Mulch

With so many varieties of mulch available, it can be difficult to choose. From dyed mulch to pine needle mulch, we cover the mulch basics to help you select which one will work best in your landscape.

Shredded Bark

Shredded bark is an all natural one of the most common and least expensive types of mulch. Shredded bark is one of the best mulch types to use on slopes and it breaks down relatively slowly providing coverage for a longer time. Shredded bark mulch can take up some nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes. If you have poor soil, adding some organic fertilizer to the soil can help keep your shrubs healthy.

Dyed Mulch

Looks is the number one reason to even consider colored mulch. In terms of its utility, colored mulch is essentially identical to regular mulch, but people find the shock of red, black, chocolate color attractive and enjoy the way it complements their existing plants and landscape.

The real controversy surrounding mulch dyes exists due to smaller, off-brand companies that use cheaper materials that are considered toxic. Here at Westfield, we make sure we only use the safest and best quality.

Pine Bark Nuggets

Bark nuggets are slower to break down than shredded bark, but they don’t stay in place as well. Pine bark is long lasting, and when it does break down it enriches the soil with organic material. Water pooling can cause bark nuggets to float and spread. They’re not a good mulch choice for slopes or other areas where they may be washed away by heavy rain.


Gravel or River Rock (Decorative Stone)

Gravel and river rocks are inorganic materials thus don’t break down in the landscape. They don’t need to be reapplied every year. However, it also means they don’t improve your soil over time.



Compost looks like soil, just a little darker. This material breaks down quickly but adds to your soil structure the fastest. This is one of the less used mulch type in gardens due to the looks. It is the most beneficial to your plants and shrubs.