Choosing Mulches

Choosing Mulches

Our customers frequently ask, “What’s the best mulch?” and there is no single answer.

In the Northeast people usually choose an organic mulch that breaks down over time, as opposed to rocks and pebbles. Since many of our plants shed foliage and stems, a rock mulch is harder to keep clean and debris-free. Mulches such as shredded bark, hulls, chopped leaves or compost have the added advantage of amending the soil from the top down.

If you’re using the mulch around shrubs and trees, something that’s fairly fine in texture works well for both for soil amendment as well as moisture retention and weed suppression. The choice between pine bark, hemlock, cedar or other woods should be made on appearance: they all function in the same manner. (Note: Cedar mulches do not keep insects away.)

Those who turn the soil every year in annual beds or vegetable gardens might want to choose mulch that breaks down more quickly than bark. Hay or straw, buckwheat hulls, seaweed and finely chopped leaves are examples of good choices for these areas.

This herb garden was mulched with buckwheat hulls. Buckwheat is also nice as a top dressing on containers, although since the hulls are lightweight it isn’t the best option in very windy areas.


  1. bill munro on May 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    How much is the hemlock mulch per yard, and do you deliver to w yarmouth

  2. CLFornari on May 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Hemlock mulch is $50.00 per yard. If we deliver there is a three yard minimum and delivery to W Yarmouth is $40.00. Thanks for checking in with us!

  3. Lisa on May 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Hi CL!
    I’d like to put something down on my dirt path around my fenced-in garden (raised beds) that would not only prevent weeds from growing but also would look nice. I was thinking of using buckwheat hulls. What would you suggest? Thank you!

    • CLFornari on May 1, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      Buckwheat hulls look nice but are so lightweight that on the Cape they usually blow away. You’re probably better off with one of the finely ground bark mulches…

  4. Scott Adams on February 26, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    It’s interesting that you talked about how mulch is better at amending the soil. I have been planning to make a new garden in my backyard. It would be smart to choose mulch because it would help my yard thrive.

    • CLFornari on February 26, 2018 at 11:10 pm

      Doing it how nature does it is the best! Top down, but not too much.

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