Garden Mulches to Prevent Weeds

14 Best Garden Mulches to Prevent Weeds: Which One is More Effective?

Most of us have a dream of having an aesthetic garden. The garden is where you can spend your free time and watch the sunset while holding a cup of coffee. If you want to have a dreamy garden, then you have to acquire basic knowledge of maintaining your garden. Unnecessary plants and weeds are the main enemies of your garden. The best way of preventing weeds is mulching. Finding the best garden mulches to prevent weeds is also important.

What is Mulching?

Mulching is covering up your garden’s free space other than the necessary plants with organic or inorganic materials to avoid excessive weeds, retain moisture, and make your landscape more fascinating. Mulching can be of different types. But it is really important to understand which one is suitable for your garden.

Why is Mulching Used?

Mulching is one of the most important steps to maintaining your garden. Preparing a garden is easy but maintaining it is somehow difficult. Mulching helps your garden to block the growth of weeds, locks the moisture of the soil, makes your landscape more eye-catching, mitigates soil condensing, improves soils inclination, prevents plants from dying early, maintains the temperature of the soil, increases soil nutrition, provides better drainage, protects the shoal roots and so on.

Which Things Should You Consider Before Mulching?

Choosing an inappropriate mulching process may give you a reverse outcome that you didn’t expect. So we should consider some factors before starting our mulching process.

  1. Soil condition
  2. Humidity
  3. Weather
  4. Availability 
  5. Type of outlook you want for your garden
  6. Avoid artificial mulch which contains rubber
  7. Avoid mulch mixed with soil
  8. Choose dry mulch rather than raw ones
  9. Mulch after removing the weeds from the soil
  10. Keep a gap between the mulch and your house
  11. Spread mulches flatly rather than making a volcano around a tree
  12. Don’t use dyed mulches

You can do mulching for your garden with both organic and artificial mulches. Among them, some mulches are widely used by people for their availability and benefits.


Types of garden mulches: Mulching can be of two types according to the source.

  1. Organic mulches
  2. Inorganic mulches

Organic Mulches


Compost is composed of mainly organic compounds to make the soil more fertile and enrich it with nutrients. Recycling organic matter like leaves or food wastes, compost is prepared to use as an organic fertilizer.

Advantage: Using the compost can give you the freedom to use it whenever you want to add the compost to your soil. As it is an organic mulch, it doesn’t have any side effects. You can prepare it at your home which makes it more affordable and available as well.


Pines are mainly the conifer trees or shrubs you can find in the jungle or botanical gardens. Pine needles are appropriate for use as mulch for your garden. The pine needles and straws are also pretty to look at for their conic shape and look exceptional.

Advantage: As it is organic, it is side effects free and affordable. Though it is not available in every region, for some people other mulches should be a better option than this.

Leaf Mold

After the leaves become dried and decomposed it turns into a compost. The compost of dried leaves is usually called leaf mold which is used in leaf mold mulching. The leaves molds have some earthy smell and grayish black.

Advantage: It is budget-friendly and super easy to prepare. All you need is some fallen leaves and pile them up for some days under the sunlight. The leaves will turn into compost. And it is ready to use for mulching.

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Leaf Mulch

Leaf mulches are mainly prepared from dried leaves. The difference between leaf mulch and leaf mold mulching is that leaf mulching can be done without even decomposing the leaves. The fallen, dried leaves are used directly and people spread them over the ground as it is. It is the most effortless mulching you will ever see.

Advantage: No money or effort is required in this case. As the dried leaves are lightweight, the air can pass through the vacancy and reach the soil. It has also the capacity to capture the hydration to the soil.


In the village areas, straw is used from feeding cows to making houses. There is a difference between pine straw and straw. The straws are produced from the crops and are easily available anywhere. But in the case of conifer plants, you need to search a little bit. In the village areas, the leaves mold, and straw mulching are mostly famous.

Advantage: Easily available and doesn’t cost you a single penny. They bring a rural touch to your backyard if you can mulch properly.

Wood Chips

Wood chips come from shredded wood. The wooden pieces are kept under the sun until they get fully dried. After that, the manufacturer kept it in a machine that shreds the pieces into minor pieces.

Advantage: Wood pieces are not as available as the dried leaves or straws but you can easily find them from the local grocery stores. It maintains the temperature of the soil and obstructs the passing of excessive heat to the ground.


Barks are mainly the hard part of the plant log or stem, which further falls out after a certain time of their age. The older the plant, the more it sheds the bark. Due to slow dehydration along with age, this phenomenon occurs. It is also a natural process. You can collect the bark and put it on the ground as you want.

Advantage: Easily available and looks different from other typical mulches. It has got some shape which gives your garden more structure. It adds a vintage vibe to your garden.


Sawdusts come from the sawmills. To give the required shape to the wooden piece, the Carpenters rub or pill it. The fallen specks of dust and layers of thin wood fur turn into sawdust. You can easily find clouds of dust in the shops where they make and sell furniture.

Advantage: Saw dusts are sparse and you don’t need to process it. Just pour and level up to your flower bed and you are done. But one drawback is saw specks of dust tend to move along with the air which sometimes irritates when they come in contact with your eyes. They keep the soil warm and maintain the thermal condition of the soil.

Shredded Hardwood Mulch

Shredded hardwoods are the most refined and structured mulches you will ever see. It is usually an oak product and it is hammered twice. Due to its durability and slow decomposing quality, the price is a little bit higher than other mulches.

Advantage: People prefer to use shredded hardwood as mulch mainly for their durability despite having higher prices. The percentage of decaying in hardwood is less than in other woods. Being originated from an Oak tree, it has a decent industrial standard and great durability which can be the best mulch for your garden. If you can afford it, then go for it.

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Grasses Clipping

In some spaces, there is unnecessary grass that needs to be leveled up. You can cut that grass and collect the grass to use in another place. The dried grass mat can be used as a mulch carpet in the areas where you need it to stop the growth of weeds. It is natural but you have to change it frequently. Otherwise, it will increase the growth of weeds more acting like a fertilizer.

Advantage: Organic mulches are the best for your garden and so it is. The unnecessary grass is recycled through this process and you can use it as a fertilizer when it is half or fully dried.

Shredded Bark

Shredded barks are nothing but the shredded form of barks. You can use barks as it is. If you want to add small pieces to your flower bed or walk away from the garden you can just shred the bark as you want.

Advantage: Shredded barks are affordable, easily available and they add a vintage brownish vibe to your garden.

Gravel and Pebbles

Gravel and pebbles have been with us since childhood as a medium of use in different games. But it can change the outlook of your garden if you can manage to use it properly. You can surround your plants with different marble rocks and pebbles to inhibit the growth of weeds. The pebbles have a slightly higher mass which makes them stick to the ground for a longer period.

Again, some people have turned it into art. You can color the pebbles into pastel color or whichever color you want. And place it on the landscape. Again, some people draw different things like butterflies or rabbits on the bigger rocks and place them in one corner of their garden as a medium of amending their garden.

Advantage: The main advantage is they are easily available in your surroundings. You don’t have to spend a single penny on it. You can also change the outlook of it whenever you want. And they even don’t degrade or move from the place where you keep it once.

Inorganic Mulches

The mulches don’t come from the organic materials from nature, rather people synthesize them and turn them into mulch. As different companies are making them artificially, you have to buy them from the market at a high price. But they are durable as they don’t degrade easily.

Plastic Mulch

Plastic mulching is nothing but covering the excess soil other than the plants with plastic paper. It inhibits the weeds from getting entangled with the growing plants. After a while, you can remove the plastic, clean the weed, and repeat the process. This is super cheap and you can remove it anytime without a hustle.

Advantage: It is affordable and there is no hustle to maintain or remove it. During rain, it acts as a cover to the soil to inhibit excess water. But sometimes it can clog the water flow. That time you have to remove it. Usually, people who grow vegetables use plastic mulch. It is rare to use plastic mulch in flower beds.

Rubber Mulch

Rubber mulch is made from waste matter and clusters of rubbers for recycling. The tires are highly used in this case. The metallic bar between the bars is just excluded and the rubber part is kept. By shredding rubber nuggets, we get the rubber mulch. Any tire can be used to make rubber mulch. From bicycles to trucks, any vehicle tire will be okay to prepare the rubber mulch.

Advantage: The rubber mulch is non-degradable. So you can use it longer than the organic mulches. You don’t have to change it frequently. It can be termed as one one-time investment that can last a longer period. But as it is non-degradable, it is not healthy for the environment. People who prefer rubber mulches, after a while, switch to organic mulches.

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How to Applying Mulch in Your Garden

You can follow these simple step-by-step methods to apply to mulch.

  1. First, determine which type of mulch you want to use and make sure what type of mulch you are using will be the best for your garden or not.
  1. Get rid of the weeds and clean the area where you want to mulch.
  1. Apply mulch around the plants from the lower part of the log to the soil outwards.
  1. Then slowly start spreading and leveling up the mulch from the plant to the soil.
  1. After completing all the steps, water the mulch and let it set for 1 or 2 days. Now, your mulch is ready.

Disadvantages of Mulching

Mulching is one of the best processes you can do for your garden. But excess of anything is not good. Sometimes mulching can do the exact opposite work that it should have been.

  • Burial and suffocation of plants: Mulching creates a layer on the top of the soil where there is a chance of growing weeds. But sometimes the mulching layer becomes so thick that it obstructs the sunlight and airflow. It causes the death of other plants in your garden.
  • Abnormal thermal management: People use mulching as it retains the moisture in the soil and balances the thermal condition of your soil. But if you don’t do mulching properly, it can trap the heat and cause excess heat inside the soil which can cause damage to the plant from the inside of the soil.
  • Welcoming the Pests: As mulching covers the soil, you cannot see what is happening inside. Often the organic mulch brings Pests, ants, earthworms, and caterpillars into your garden. But the problem arises when they start making their habitats there and start increasing in amount. The plastic and rubber mulches give the best opportunity for the pets to hide as you cannot see anything from outside.


Which Type of Mulch Lasts the Longest?

The durability of a mulch depends on some factors like weather, sun exposure, the material you are using, etc.

  1. Among organic mulches, you can say shredded hardwood mulches are better than any other organic mulches because of their durability. They are quite high in price as they come from Oak trees and have a quality structure. Items degrade easily.
  1. If you have a decent budget and invest in good mulches, then you must go for rubber and plastic mulches. Though you have to buy it at a higher price, but they are durable as they don’t degrade like organic mulches.

What is the Best Mulch to Improve the Soil?

To improve the soil, you must go for organic mulches. As it degrades over a period of time and mixes with the soil. Further it acts like a fertilizer.

What is the Easiest Mulch to Maintain?

To maintain it easily you can go for leaf mulches. As you don’t have to do anything with it. Just gather the dried leaves and level up with the ground.

If you want to have better protection from weeds, then you can invest in heavy rubber mulches as it inhibits the growth of the weeds and doesn’t degrade over a period of time.

How to Prevent Weeds Growing out From Mulch?

Regular maintenance is the key here.No matter which mulch you are using.

Now the Question Arises: Which Mulch will be the Best for Your Garden to Prevent Weeds?

It depends on your needs and how you want your garden to look. Budget is also a matter of fact here. Using organic mulch is always a good idea. If you want something affordable and easily available, then you can go for wood mulch or leaf mulch. There has always been a haze between Wood mulch vs leaf mulch.

In my opinion, the most durable and available organic mulches can work the best for you!! First, you consider your budget, weather, types of plants, quality of the soil where you want to mulch, available sunlight, and so on. Then decide which mulch will be great for your flower bed or vegetable garden.

Hopefully reading our article has helped you a lot to choose the best garden mulch to prevent weeds.

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