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Readers Respond: What Type of Mulch (Color) Do You Prefer?

Responses: 48

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Depends on the situation

I own a small landscape company. I receive requests for all 3 shades. It really just boils down to a bed's color scheme and over-all landscape theme. I like them all, given that they match/complement their surroundings well.
—Guest northeasternlandscaping

Mulch by Desired Look, or Necessity

I prefer no specific mulch, but shy away from anything chemically dyed. Depending on the planting involved, the choice is made for ease, weed control needs, durability, and overall appearance wished for. I tend to use landscape fabric and stone under evergreens as I don't want to be crawling around under them a lot in more mature growth. Too prickly. I add wood chips to rose bushes, usually hardwoods, to form a back drop for their color. This material also holds on to a substantial amount of sprayed fertilizer which drys on it and leaches it out when it rains. Now for vegetables, I use strictly raised beds. The soil here is sand, rock, and clay. I made 3-4 ft by 36 ft raised beds 30 inches tall. I control that soil instead. I mulch over soaker hoses with thick, good quality hay. It forms a moisture barrier and releases nutrients as it decomposes. Any seeds sprouting in spring are turned under before planting, then the next years layer stops new weeds.
—dawnwinds58

I Hate Red Mulch

First of all it is so unnatural looking. Second, we get very hot humid weather here in St. Louis and the last thing I want to see then is red-hot mulch. Even in the winter, I find it offensive. Third, dark brown mulch looks so natural, healthy, cool and comforting. It looks like rich earth. It reminds me of forests which I love.
—Guest Carolyn

Colored Mulch Great If It Keeps Color

Colored mulch is great, just as long as it keeps its color. I found a great inexpensive and easy product to keep that new look all the time. It is called "EnviroColor." For those of you who like your colored mulches, I recommend you try it.
—skennedy33

No Red Mulch for Me

Personally I find the red mulch doesn't look very natural. The dark brown contrasts well with plants, looks like soil and obviously decomposes to help amend the soil over time. Cedar smells great when wet, but doesn't seem to give that pop of contrast that the darker mulches give. Just my 2 cents worth.
—Guest Mike Wilson

No to Red Mulch

Red mulch is too old school. It goes nice with red brick, but not too many of those being built lately. I use a dark brown mulch, and though it has some draw backs (fading), I find it to be a good fit and look for my landscape design.
—tictac46

Red Mulch Has Its Fans!

I like red mulch, it blends in with the brick on my house. It looks beautiful around my maple trees. Red mulch and green grass -- those colors make a finished landscape for me.
—Guest betty neace

Rubber Mulch

I love the rubber mulch in my landscape. I got it because I heard that the dry wood mulch would draw termites. Also the rubber mulch is nice to walk on feels good under foot and it comes in nice colors.
—Guest Rita

Gold-Colored Type of Mulch

I did not like the look of red mulch, but found a gold color we like. It looks good in our landscape and we receive a lot of compliments.
—Guest cs4grandma

Dark-Colored Mulch for Me

I think the red mulch is too showy, garish. I much prefer the dark brown mulch. It goes with everything.
—Guest Annie79

Natural Mulch Best Suits the Landscape

Mulch is better off when it's natural, because it blends better with the plants.
—Guest Felicity

Red Mulch Just Fine

It is just the best - keeps down the weeds, of course looks good in the garden and keeps the soil moist in dry conditions.
—Guest planterlady

Red Mulch a Stone Substitute?

Natural mulch is available in enough colors to serve most all conditions, if you hunt for it. It may not be available in your big box store, but often landscaping, gardening, bulk shops do. One supplier near me offers natural black (primarily bark), cypress (light brown) red oak, light oak (I assume white oak) along with two other shades of tan/brown (mixed species). They sometimes have small amounts of other colors. IMO the red dyed mulch seems to be an attempt to imitate the look of the red, porous stone (volcanic rock perhaps) and if so, in the long term, stone would be cheaper and easier to maintain, although the benefits of organic mulch wouldn't be equal. Rubber mulch actually attracts and retains heat, which might be appropriate in cold climates or for heat loving plants such as succulents and cacti, but for most of us in the south (and I suspect in most of the rest of the country) it should be used sparingly if at all.
—Guest WileyR

Fan of Natural Type of Mulch

NATURAL !! I've tried red and after a good rain had some of the dye release, and it can stain....and it bleaches out from the sub, and needs to be re-applied more often than brown shades ....Would you like to go for a walk in the woods and have the ground be all covered with red or various shades of browns?
—oldfroggie

Red Mulch Makes Yard Look Manicured

I like red dyed mulch. It matches the wood trim on my house. It gives my landscape a more manicured look. I had never used it before nor done any kind of yard work before. I was truly impressed with myself.
—Guest Evelyn

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What Type of Mulch (Color) Do You Prefer?

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