Best Mulch For Trees And Shrubs in 2024 – Reviews

One of the best ways you can help your trees and shrubs thrive is by using mulch. Mulch helps to conserve soil moisture, moderate soil temperature, improve soil structure, and impede the growth of weeds and grass.

It also eliminates potential tree damage from mowers and trimmers and prevents soil compaction. Be sure to use the best type of mulch around your trees to help them stay healthy and strong.

What we mean by this is that it is really important to choose the right type of mulch for your plant, but you also need to choose it accordingly for the type of terrain you have.

Note that, there are many types of mulches available, including bark, leaves, straw, wood chips, and compost.

Below are some of the top mulch for your trees and shrubs. We selected 5 of these mulches so that you can choose the one that is most appropriate for your garden and weather conditions.

Best Mulch For Trees And Shrubs Landscape

The different selected top mulches consist of 3 inorganic and 2 organic types. The rationale is that most of the mulch used for trees and shrubs in the last few years has been implemented in arid areas, where water is scarce. But also in areas where people would like a long-lasting solution, where there is no need to lay mulch every couple of months. Considering this, inorganic mulch are best, though not the best for the environment as they do not degrade in an environmentally friendly manner.

To reduce the impact, the product selected use recycled plastic or tires. This ensures a second life to the inorganic material in an area where it is most needed, thus avoiding burying the non-organic material in soil with no second purpose.

#1. Oldcastle Black Mulch For Trees and Shrubs – Best Overall Inorganic

When it comes to the best mulch for trees and shrubs, we highly recommend that you try out the Oldcastle Black Mulch.

This stuff works pretty well at being a great all-purpose mulch for trees and shrubs as it retains water, regulates temperature, keeps weeds and pests out, and makes your lawn look good.

Although it is a little pricey, we think that it is definitely worth it in terms of quality.

When most people think of mulch, they think of the dark, rich color it brings to gardens and landscapes. However, there are different types of mulch available on the market, including black mulch.

Oldcastle Black Mulch is made from recycled rubber tires and can be used for both trees and shrubs.

It is a great choice for those looking for an environmentally friendly option, as it is made from recycled materials. Note that the mulch is inorganic. It is great because it does not need to be replaced for many years to come. it is widely used by gardeners around trees in cities’ gardens. So, yes you may dislike the fact that it is inorganic, but you need to appreciate that this mulch is really good for landscaping.

What we like to remind ourselves is that black mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil, which can be beneficial for plants during hot weather. It is also a good insulator against the winter cold.

So, for those who are interested in the best mulch for trees and shrubs, the Oldcastle Black Mulch is one of the better options that you can buy in bulk.

Oldcastle is one of the older better-known players in the mulch industry and has many years of experience making quality mulch. This black mulch is color dyed but preserves its color nicely.

We really like that discourages weed control, which is a primary reason people get this for their trees and shrubs in the first place.

It also just looks really nice in your garden. Furthermore, it helps properly regulated soil temperature which can be a total lifesaver in the extreme heat of the summer or cold of the winter months.


  • Plant protection
  • Weed prevention
  • Moisture retention


  • Inorganic

View on Amazon

#2. Agfabric Easy-Plant Tree Block Mulch – Best Recycled Plastic

It can be difficult to find the time to properly take care of a garden.

Between work, errands, and spending time with family and friends, there just never seem to be enough hours in the day. This is where Agfabric’s Easy-Plant Tree Block Mulch comes in to make your life a little easier.

Easy-Plant Tree Block Mulch is a type of fabric that you can plant trees in. Simply cut out a hole in the fabric for the tree’s trunk, fill the hole with soil, and then plant the tree.

The fabric will hold the soil in place and protect the tree from rodents and other animals.

Easy-Plant Tree Block Mulch also helps to conserve water since it prevents evaporation. This makes it an ideal mulch for areas that have drought or water restrictions.

That’s why in our next choice, we have selected the well-known Agfabric Easy Plant Tree Block Mulch.

It is the best mulch for trees and shrubs if you are interested in block plastic mulch that works better than other brands.

While plastic mulch isn’t for everybody and every tree or shrub when it works and is installed correctly, it is absolutely amazing and greatly increases growth and yields.

It is nice to know that this block mulch is very tea-resistant and fends well up against inclement weather.

Also, it is pretty corrosion-resistant and highly UV resistant. While it is not traditional mulch, many people have used it effectively as mulch for trees and shrubs.


  • Helps with drainage
  • Keeps the ground clean
  • Widely used for weed barrier
  • Reduce the need for irrigation work


  • Inorganic

View on Amazon

#3. Great North Forest Cedar Type of Mulch around Trees – Best Organic Long-Lasting

best mulch for trees and shrubs

Another really nice option when it comes to the best mulch for trees and shrubs is the Great North Forest Cedar Mulch. We really like it because it is rot and insect resistant.

Most people get this brand if they are set on cedar mulch because it contains 100 percent cedar bark and wood and doesn’t have any of the nasty fillers that other brands have.

In other words, it is definitely made from high-quality cedarwood and actually also smells great at the same time. And believe it or not, the fragrance does matter for some people.

Overall, this mulch is great for trees and you can get really nice coverage while at the same time avoiding spending a huge amount of money.

A bit of extra information for you about where this mulch comes from:

The Great North Forest is an unorganized territory in the Canadian province of Ontario. It is located in the Parry Sound and Muskoka districts. The forest covers an area of about 1,500 square kilometers, making it the largest forest in southern Ontario.

Obviously, the forest is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, moose, deer, and wolves. But it also contains a number of cedar trees. And guess what, the cedar mulch is made mainly from the bark of cedar trees from Ontario in Canada.

It is a natural way to protect plants from pests and diseases. Cedar mulch also helps to retain moisture in the soil.


  • Restricts fungus
  • Reduce bad bacteria growth
  • Helps regulate temperature
  • Breaks down slowly
  • Controls weeds
  • Repels insects naturally


  • May repel pollinators

View on Amazon

#4. Texas Solar Tree Mulch Ring – Best Inorganic For Beginners

The Texas Solar Tree Mulch Ring is a heavy-duty rubber weed preventer that is mower safe and definitely helps keeps the annoying weeds away from your trees and shrubs.

While it is not viewed as a traditional mulch since it is not made of organic materials, it might as well be one in that it functions pretty much how a mulch would benefit your soil.

The best part about this mulch ring is that it keeps tree health and maintains water and humidity where needed. Also, it does a great job of preventing the bugs from attacking.

Not only does it offer protection, but also it is quite easy to apply and has a nice clean look that will last a lot longer than traditional mulch.


  • Simplicity in installation
  • Durability
  • Weed control
  • Moisture control
  • Long-lasting


  • May increase the risk of fungal as the soil does not breath. To avoid this, drill a couple of wholes in the mat

View on Amazon

#5. USA Pine Straw Mulch For Trees and Shrubs – Best Organic Value

By now I am sure you are convinced that the use of mulch is a common practice for gardeners to help maintain healthy plants and conserve water.

And I am sure you know that mulch comes in many different forms, from organic materials such as leaves and compost to plastic sheeting.

Now, one of the most popular types of mulch used in the United States is pine straw. Pine straw mulch is made from the needles of pine trees.

We like it because it is easy to spread and doesn’t make a mess everywhere. It helps retain moisture and prevents nasty weeds and bugs from coming around your soil and tree roots.

The only real downside is that it is just not that pretty to look at and won’t look nearly as nice as a traditional brown or black mulch, which will certainly make your garden more vibrant.

In terms of which pine straw to get, they are all sort of the same, so it just comes down to price.

Luckily, this brand has some of the best pricing in the industry.


  • Keep the soil cool in summer
  • Ensure the soil is warm in winter
  • Support the plant’s growth cycle
  • Prevents soil erosion
  • Keep moisture in the soil
  • The acidity of pine straw helps to neutralize alkaline soils


  • Does not look that pretty

View on Amazon

Final Verdict

There are many different types of mulch that can be used for trees and shrubs. The Oldcastle Black Mulch is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable, easy-to-use, and inorganic mulch that lasts for years to come. It’s made from recycled tires, so it’s what people call “eco-friendly” (though made from non-recyclable materials). It’s black in color, so it will help to heat up your soil in the winter. Note that this is a great option for landscaping.

The Agfabric Easy-Plant Tree Block Mulch is a also great mulch for trees and shrubs, and it is also inorganic. It’s designed to help with water retention and prevent weeds. It’s made from recycled plastic, so it’s “environmentally” acceptable. It’s UV-protected so it will last longer.

If you are looking for a product that is going to last a long time and is organic, then the North Forest Cedar Mulch is the way to go. An easy-to-use and install is the Texas Solar Tree Mulch Ring. However, if you are looking for a product that is going to be very affordable, then the USA Pine Straw Mulch is the way to go.

The Different Types of Mulch for trees and shrubs

Mulch is a layer of material placed on top of the soil. Its primary purpose is to protect the soil from erosion, excessive moisture loss, and weed growth. It also helps improve the appearance of the area. There are many different types of mulch available, and the best type to use depends on the type of tree or shrub being planted.

Organic mulches, such as wood chips or bark, are a good choice for most trees and shrubs. They help the soil retain moisture and nutrients, and they decompose over time, adding valuable organic matter to the soil. Inorganic mulches, such as plastic, rubber, gravel, or stone, are best used around trees and shrubs that are tolerant to dry conditions.

  1. Wood chips organic mulch
  2. Bark mulch around trees and shrubs
  3. Compost mulch for trees
  4. Inorganic stone mulch material
  5. Hay or straw to mulch around trees

1. Wood chips organic mulch

When it comes to mulching around trees and shrubs, wood chips are the best type to use. Wood chips help the soil retain moisture, which is important for the roots of trees and shrubs. They also help to keep the roots cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

2. Bark mulch around trees and shrubs

One of the best types of mulch that we really like to use around trees is bark. Bark mulch helps to protect trees from temperature extremes, provides essential nutrients, and helps to prevent weeds from growing. Bark mulch also helps to keep the roots of trees cooler in summer and warmer in winter.

3. Compost mulch for trees

When it comes to mulching around trees and shrubs, you can really rely on the use of compost in poor soils. Compost is rich in nutrients and helps promote healthy growth in plants. It also helps the soil retain moisture, which is important during the hot summer months.

4. Inorganic stone mulch material

Mulch is an important component of any landscaping design, but it is especially important when it comes to trees and shrubs. The right mulch can help retain moisture, moderate soil temperature, and protect roots from compaction. When it comes to choosing the best mulch for trees and shrubs, the stone is the clear winner.

Stone mulch comes in a variety of colors and textures, so it is easy to find one that will complement your landscaping design. Stone mulch also does not break down over time like organic mulches, so it will not need to be replaced as often. And, perhaps most importantly, stone mulch will not attract termites and other pests the way organic mulches can.

5. Hay or straw to mulch around trees

When it comes to mulching around trees, the best type of mulch to use is hay or straw. This is because hay and straw break down slowly, which means they provide a long-lasting source of nutrients for trees. In addition, hay and straw help to keep the soil moist, which is important for tree roots.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

What not to do with mulch – The volcano mulching effect

There’s always a right way and a wrong way to apply mulch. One of the worst things you can do is create a volcano-like pile around the trunk of a tree. This can damage the tree’s bark and prohibit proper growth. So avoid doing this simple common mistake. Applying a high and excessive layer of mulch around a tree (many inches of mulch) can lead to your tree developing fungus and dying in the long term. Though there are clear benefits of mulching around young trees and shrubs, piling mulch is definitely a no-no.

How to mulch around trees and shrubs?

To get started, spread mulch under trees and shrubs to a depth of 3 to 4 inches for medium. Ensure that there’s no mulch around the tree trunk. If, for any reason, you have put mulch against the trunk, then pull it away from the bases of tree and shrub trunks to create what we like to call a “donut hole”. This ensures that the mulch does not pile up against the trunk, which can lead to excessive moisture at the base, suffocating the roots and promoting tree disease or decay. Also, avoid what we would call “volcano mulching”. The less mulch against the tree trunk the better. By following these steps, you can help promote healthy root growth and ensure the longevity and vitality of your trees and shrubs.

Does mulch serve a purpose beyond aesthetics?

Yes, mulch serves a purpose beyond aesthetics by providing numerous benefits for trees and shrubs in a landscape. Mulching trees and shrubs helps to conserve soil moisture and minimize soil erosion by reducing the water evaporation rate from the soil surface. Mulch also reduces competition for nutrients and moisture by keeping weeds at bay. This ensures that the landscape trees receive the necessary water and nutrients, which helps to maximize their growth potential. Moreover, mulch helps to regulate soil temperatures, keeping the roots cool in summer and warm in the winter. Furthermore, organic mulch helps to improve soil structure and fertility, providing a slow-release fertilizer for the trees. Therefore, the use of mulch in landscaping not only enhances the appearance of the area but also ensures the health and well-being of the trees and shrubs.

How does over-mulching kill trees and shrubs?

Mulching is an essential practice in gardening, but overdoing it can lead to disastrous consequences for the trees and shrubs. Mulch may provide a lot of benefits, including weed suppression, moisture retention, and soil insulation. However, if applied incorrectly or excessively, piles of mulch can cause fungal and bacterial diseases and even excess moisture.

One of the primary reasons over-mulching kills trees and shrubs is that it reduces the amount of air in the soil. Roots need air to survive, so excessively burying them under layers of mulch obstructs their access to air and, consequently, causes them to decline slowly. Unfortunately, this process can take years, and most gardeners may not realize that their plants are dying from over-mulching until it is too late. Therefore, to prevent this from happening, gardeners must ensure that they apply the right amount of mulch to their plants and avoid burying the roots too deep.

Where can I get mulch?

If you are in need of mulch for your garden or landscaping project, there are a few options available to you. One recommended option is to check with your local arborist, as they often have access to large amounts of mulch from tree trimming and removals. Another possibility is to check your local supermarket or home improvement store, as they may carry bags of mulch for sale.

Additionally, there are various web shops that specialize in garden supplies and landscaping products and may offer a variety of mulch options for purchase. It is important to consider the type of mulch you need for your specific project, such as the material it is made from (such as wood chips or shredded leaves) and any additional features such as color or organic content. With some research and a little bit of effort, you should be able to find the right mulch for your needs.

Should I mulch around mature trees?

Yes, mulching around mature trees can provide several benefits. A good rule of thumb for mature trees is to mulch about 8 to 10 inches away from the base of the tree. Mulch should be piled around the tree in a mounded fashion, which should be approximately 2 to 3 inches deep (2 to 3 inches thick). This will help to conserve soil moisture and prevent the growth of weed seeds. Mulch also keeps the soil temperature moderated and improves soil structure as it decomposes.

However, improper mulching, such as piling mulch too deep against the tree trunk, can create an environment for disease and insect infestation. It can also stress the tree trunk, inviting root rot and other damaging diseases. Therefore, it is important to pull back the mulch to 3 to 5 inches away from young trees. Ensure there’s no excess mulch spread out by checking the depth does not exceed 4 inches. In this way, mulching can provide benefits without causing harm to your mature trees.


The Review Gurus