The Best Types of Organic Mulch to Use in Your Yard

Garden Betty

Mulch is a highly underrated ground cover in the garden but one of the most important. But of all the different types of landscape mulch out there, what works the best?

What should you use in a vegetable garden? Or around your trees?

I break down the top 12 organic mulches you should know about.


I know compost is usually used as a soil amendment, but if you have some left over, think about it: it’s free, it has loads of nutrients, and it’s full of beneficial microorganisms, worms, and other natural decomposers.

Leaf litter

If you’ve got trees in your yard, don’t discard the leaves after you rake them up in fall. Chop them up (with a string trimmer) or shred them into little pieces (with a lawn mower) and scatter them over the soil.

Mushroom compost

A by-product of mushroom farming that’s sold to the public in some places, mushroom compost makes for great mulch. It’s high in calcium and other nutrients, improves water retention, and attracts earthworms.


These materials are relatively cheap, readily available, lightweight, and easy to apply—even my kids love to help me mulch with them.

Shredded bark

Also known as bark chips, shredded bark usually comes from the chopped-up outer bark of conifers like fir, pine, and redwood.

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Garden Betty