5 Best Mulches for Tomato Plants + How & When To Mulch Them

Mulching is a simple and inexpensive practice that comes with a wide range of benefits. The best mulches for tomato plants are varied. They include wood chips, shredded leaves, bark mulch, coco, straw, natural leaf mulch, and many other types of mulch. The trick is to mulch around the base to create a protective barrier around the plant roots and helps maintain a healthy environment for them to grow.

For instance,  wood chips are a great mulch option that can help maintain soil moisture, regulate soil temperature, and prevent weed growth. On the other hand, shredded leaves offer a great way to recycle organic matter and provide the soil with important nutrients as they easily break down. Bark mulch is a slow-release choice that is ideal for large tomato plants, as it doesn’t need to be replaced as often and can also protect against extreme temperatures. Natural (non-shredded) leaf mulch is also a great alternative as it allows water and air to penetrate the soil while preventing weed growth. By using one of these organic mulches, you can promote growth, and soil health, and protect your tomato plants from weed seeds and pests.

However, if you do not have access to these mulches, then you have no other choice but to buy mulch. And if you are in this case, then you need to filter through thousands of products. Below, we have selected 5 of the best mulch for tomatoes. These have been carefully selected to help you make an informed decision. We have also put together a buying guide and a full set of FAQs to help you with tomato mulches (see further down the page).

The Best Mulch For Tomato Plants Reviews

There are many different types of mulches available, but organic materials such as fiber cedar, peat, straw, or even old leaves are generally recommended for tomatoes.

The below 5 types of mulches have been tested and carefully selected so that you can apply them directly in your garden.

#1. Hoffman Peat Moss Mulch For Tomatoes – Top Pick

Mulch For TomatoesWhen it comes to growing tomatoes, Hoffman peat moss mulch is ideal.

It helps retain moisture in the soil while also providing drainage.

Additionally, the mulch moderates the soil temperature, helping to protect the plants from both heat and cold.

Hoffman peat moss mulch is also an effective way to suppress weeds.

So, when it comes to the best mulch for tomatoes, we highly recommend that you try out the Hoffman Peat Moss Mulch For Tomatoes.

This peat moss sucks moisture into the soil like none other and slowly decomposes over the growing season.

In summary, and for those looking for the best mulch for tomatoes, we definitely think you should try out the Hoffman Peat Moss.

This is one of the top brands in producing peat moss and is undoubtedly considered a premium grade.

First and foremost, it is nice to know that this is just about 100% organic and comes from Canadian sphagnum peat moss. It truly does a wonderful job of improving moisture retention and aeration in the soil.

The difference before and after adding this peat moss to the yield of tomatoes and just soil water absorption is very noticeable and its effects linger for a long time.

Also, it does a really good job of slowly decomposing over the growing season and clearly helps add additional nutrients to the soil. Many people also use it as a nice-looking topsoil dress around the garden.


  • Great water retention for tomatoes
  • Seeds free
  • Look nice in the garden
  • Suppress weeds


  • May be too acidic for non-acid-loving plants
  • Low in nutrients so you need to add a fertilizer

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#2. EZ Straw – Best For Soil Moisture

Next up, we have the EZ Straw Mulch For Tomatoes, which is the best mulch for tomatoes for protecting your tomatoes and keeping the weeds at bay.

Believe it or not, straw makes excellent mulch for tomatoes, and the EZ Straw brand is packaged and cleaned up so nicely. This is an all-natural premium straw with no fillers or additives.

We really like that this straw is neatly packaged and processed so that you can easily spread it over your tomato plants without it making a mess and getting everywhere.

Sure you end up paying a little premium for this, but at least you know you are getting the good stuff. A common problem with straw is seed sprouting which is avoided with this brand.

Is straw a good type of mulch around tomatoes?

The answer is yes, straw mulch is good for tomatoes. Basically, there are many benefits to using straw as mulch for tomatoes.

Straw helps keep the soil cool and moist, and it prevents the growth of weeds. It also improves the soil’s structure, which is important for growing healthy tomatoes.

Straw is a good choice for mulch because it breaks down slowly, so it will continue to provide these benefits throughout the growing season.


  • Control weeds
  • Retain moisture
  • Very easy to use
  • Does not blow away


  • May have some dust at times

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#3. Dalen Red Mulch Film For Tomatoes – Best Temperature Regulator

Dalen Red Mulch Film For TomatoesAnother really nice choice when it comes to the best mulch for tomatoes is the Dalen Red Mulch Film.

It does an amazing job of retaining heat and increasing tomato plant yield.

The Dalen branded red film also does a great job in preventing erosion and retaining soil moisture and does this significantly better than the other competing brands.

Another saving grace of using red film for growing tomatoes is the fact that it is amazing at repelling nematodes which tend to peck on the root system of your tomatoes.

And of course, it goes without saying that there are tiny holes in the plastic that allow vital nutrients and water to pass through.


  • Control weeds effectively
  • Retain moisture
  • Very easy to use
  • Does not blow away
  • Increase tomatoes yields


  • Not environmentally sustainable

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#4. FibreDust 17 lbs Coconut Coir Mulch Tomatoes – Best Water Retention

Mulch for tomatoesThe Fiberdust Cocoa Shell Mulch is a great generic brown mulch for your garden and happens to work really well on tomato plants from our experience.

This stuff admits as well as retains water in the soil quite well and best of all, it never really gets all soggy, which can definitely be a serious problem with other mulches.

This mulch is made of the outer shell of cocoa beans.

At least from what we know and our research, there doesn’t seem to be too many artificial ingredients and fillers cut in.

Many people also like it because it just has this attractive brown color that looks nice and will your garden look lively and fresh.


  • Easy to use
  • Not expensive
  • Environmentally friendly alternative
  • Control the temperature in summer and winter
  • Conserve water and retain soil moisture


  • May contain some salt

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#5. MIGHTY109 Cedar – Best  Tomato Mulch 100% Natural

Lastly, we have the MIGHTY109 Garden Fiber Cedar Mulch, which has become a bit of a gold standard in this industry.

This mulch does a pretty good job of preventing soil from getting everywhere. Many people also get this mulch because it does wonders for your tomato plants in making sure that they don’t experience any root rot.

This mulch also builds a bit of a protective layer and keeps light off of your precious soil.

So weeds and mold don’t grow in your soil and spoil your tomatoes.

Best of all, it is incredibly affordable and something that everyone can appreciate when just starting to grow tomatoes.

Is cedar mulch good for tomatoes?

There are many benefits to using cedar mulch for tomatoes. One reason is that it helps keep the soil moist.

Cedar mulch is really good at suppressing weed growth. And weeds can compete with your tomato plants for nutrients and moisture. So best to use a good mulch like the cedar one.

Additionally, cedar mulch releases a natural oil that can help deter pests from attacking your tomatoes.


  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to use
  • Not expensive
  • Environmentally friendly alternative
  • Conserve water and retain soil moisture
  • Comes with a nice smell, though some may dislike it


  • May decompose slowly so nutrients are not going to the soil fast enough
  • A bit expensive

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How to Select the Best Mulch for Great Tomatoes – A Buying Guide

When planting tomatoes, it is important to use the right type of mulch. Basically, mulch helps keep the soil moist and prevents weeds from growing. It also helps keep the fruit clean and improves the overall appearance of the garden.

Obviously, there are many different types of mulch available, so it is important to select the one that is best suited for your needs.

One of the best options is organic mulch, which includes materials such as bark, straw, and compost. Organic mulch decomposes over time, providing nutrients to the soil. It also helps retain moisture in the soil, which is important for tomatoes.

Inorganic mulches are made of materials such as plastic or stone. These materials do not decompose and do not provide any nutrients to the soil. However, they do help prevent weeds from growing and can be helpful in areas where water drainage is an issue.

Commercial tomato growers use both inorganic and organic mulches. It is clear that they prefer organic mulches because they provide numerous benefits to tomato plants.

However, organic mulches are more expensive than inorganic ones, so for for-profit purposes, there are times when commercial entities will prefer to use inorganic solutions.

Note that, organic mulches also help improve soil fertility as they decompose. Some of the best organic mulches for tomatoes include grass clippings, straws, and leaves.

Obviously, not all mulches are created equal, however, so it’s important to select the right one for your garden.

Here are the two main tips on how to choose the best mulch for tomatoes:

  1. Consider the climate. If you live in a hot climate, choose a mulch that will help keep the soil cool. We advise you to select great organic materials mulch like straw, peat, or leaves. In colder climates, you should use a thicker layer of material to help insulate the soil.
  2. Think about your soil type. If your soil is heavy and wet, use a light mulch like straw or pine needles. If your soil is sandy or loose, use a heavier material like bark chips or compost.

FAQ on mulching tomato plants

Below we answer the most frequently asked questions we receive about mulching around your tomato plants.

Can You Mulch Around Tomato Plants?

The simple answer is yes, and we highly advise you to do so.

Mulching around tomato plants is a great way to keep the soil moist and cool.

It can also help to prevent weeds from growing.

The best type of mulch to use around tomatoes is organic matter, such as straw, leaves, or grass clippings.

Be sure to keep the mulch away from the stems of the plants, and don’t let it pile up against the base of the plants.

Why Mulching Tomato Plants?

Mulching your tomato plants has many benefits. Simply put, and as we said above, it is a gardening technique that helps suppress weeds, conserve moisture, and improve soil quality.

So the reason why mulching our tomato plant is good is very simple:

Mulching will not only help your plants grow better but also improves the soil quality in your garden.

Obviously, it is a good idea to mulch tomato plants because they are under stress from being exposed to the heat and sun.

Overall, mulching will help them grow better and produce more tomatoes. It also helps to prevent soil erosion.

When And How To Mulch for Tomato Plants?

When to mulch tomato plants is a question that gardeners frequently ask.

The general consensus is that you should mulch your tomato plants when the soil becomes a little dry to the touch.

Another guideline is to wait until the night temperatures stay above 50 degrees Fahrenheit before applying mulch. This may not always be the case, but it does work.

Applying mulch too early can actually do more harm than good.

Mulching too early can create a warm and moist environment that which fungal diseases thrive. So ensure you follow the above simple and basic guidelines for applying the mulch at the right time.

In terms of the how-to mulch your tomato plant, well this is fairly easy.

You should add a layer of mulch around the plants when they are first planted and after you water them and the water has dried up a bit (see above guideline).

After this, we would advise you to add another layer of mulch around the tomato plants as they grow. By the way, you do not need to apply too much. One inch is fine and up to 4 inches maximum should be fine.

What is the best tomato mulch color?

When planting tomatoes, it is important to use the right kind of mulch. Different colors of mulch have different effects on the plants.

White mulch reflects sunlight and keeps the soil cool. This is good for tomatoes that are planted in the summer.

Black mulch absorbs sunlight and warms the soil. This is good for tomatoes that are planted in the winter.

There are some green mulches too. And funny enough, green mulch helps keep the soil moist and prevents weeds from growing.

Overall, there are many different colors of mulch available. So, which one is best for tomatoes?

Some gardeners believe that black mulch is best for tomatoes. The reason behind this, and I said it above, is that it absorbs heat and helps the soil warm up faster in the spring.

Others prefer red mulch because it makes the tomatoes easier to spot so you can avoid accidentally stepping on them.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what color mulch is best for your tomatoes. If you are unsure, use black, brown, or red color mulch. These have worked very well during our tests.

Is red mulch good for tomato plants?

Let’s dig a little more into the colors. We all know that mulch is a layer of material placed on the surface of the soil.

Its main purpose is to conserve moisture in the soil, but it also moderates soil temperature, prevents erosion, and can improve the appearance of your garden.

Organic mulches, such as red mulch, also add nutrients to the soil as they break down. This can be beneficial for tomato plants, which are heavy feeders.

However, too much mulch can smother plants and prevent water and air from reaching their roots. That is why, as a general rule of thumb, we advise applying a 1-inch layer.

In fact, we advise applying a maximum of 2- to 4-inch layer of mulch around tomato plants, leaving a few inches of space around the stem.

Will black mulch hurt tomato plants?

The answer is yes and no. Note that Black mulch is commonly made from recycled tires and can be safe for use around tomato plants.

However, using this type of mulch is not advisable as when you want to replant other vegetables, the tires will not decompose. So best to stay away from this type of mulch.

However, note that there are black mulches that are organic. If this is the case, then yes you can use the black mulch for your plant.

Is compost good for tomatoes?

Compost is often heralded as a miracle substance for gardens and agriculture and for good reason. It can improve drainage and aeration in soils, help retain moisture, and provide a slow release of nutrients to plants. It can also improve the structure of heavy clay soils and help sandy soils retain nutrients and moisture. All of these factors can lead to healthier plants with more abundant yields.

When it comes to tomatoes specifically, compost can provide many benefits. It can help improve yields, flavor, and overall fruit quality. Compost can also help reduce problems with diseases and pests. In fact, compost is often used as a natural fungicide and insecticide. Overall, compost can be a great addition to any tomato garden, and can be used in conjunction with mulch. The way to do it is to lay your compost, then put a layer of mulch on top of it. Water the lot, and enjoy great tomatoes.

Can black plastic be used as mulch for tomatoes?

Black plastic is a popular type of mulch, but can it be used for tomatoes? Tomatoes are a warm-season crop, so they need warm soil to thrive. Black plastic absorbs heat from the sun, so it can help warm up the soil and get the tomatoes off to a good start. Once the tomatoes are established, however, the black plastic can actually make the soil too hot, leading to stressed plants and fewer tomatoes.

If you decide to use black plastic for your tomatoes, be sure to remove it once the plants are established. You can also try using a lighter-colored fabric. However, the best method would be to use compost and then organic mulch on top of the compost. You’ll get a fantastic result with this simple solution. By the way, you can also use red plastic mulch.

Conclusion and Benefits of Mulching for Tomatoes

Mulching is a great way to help your tomato plants grow. When mulch decomposes, it provides nutrients for the plants. It also helps to keep the soil temperature consistent. This can improve the yield of your tomatoes.

Mulching also helps with erosion and can help retain moisture in the soil, which is important for watering your plants. Weed control is another benefit of mulching, as it can help to prevent weeds from growing around your plants.

There are many different types of mulch that you can use, so be sure to choose a mulch material that is right for your tomato plants.




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