Finished compost, shredded bark, straw, and finished animal manure are great options. Learn how to use each for the best results properly. In this article, I’ll outline the benefits and drawbacks of each type. This article will also discuss how each one benefits the plants differently. Hopefully, this article will help you decide which is best for your garden. Then, depending on the garden mulch delivery Hampton GA you want, you can determine if you’ll use one or a combination of materials.

Finished compost

If you’re considering using compost for your garden, you might be wondering what the difference is between unfinished and finished compost. Unfinished compost contains pathogens and other contaminants that shouldn’t be present in garden mulch. In addition, unfinished compost may be toxic to your plants because the microbes in the compost still need nitrogen to function correctly. You shouldn’t use unfinished compost around food crops, either. In addition, unfinished compost produces by-products during the decomposition process. When bacteria and fungi digest organic matter, they release organic acids that lower the pH level of the compost, allowing them to grow and break down the plant’s outer layers. Ammonia-type acids are toxic to specific plants, so use finished compost only.

Using finished compost for garden mulch is easy. Dig up an existing compost pile and mix it to a depth of four to six inches. If you use unfinished compost, turn the bank every few weeks or so, or it will continue to break down and steal valuable nutrients from your plants. Mix finished compost with materials that improve drainage and reapply it every few weeks to maintain the balance of nitrogen and carbon.

Shredded bark

The rough outer portion of trees, known as shredded bark, is an excellent choice for garden mulch. It adds a natural, rustic look to your garden while conserving moisture and reducing weeds. Its natural scents also contribute to its appeal, making it a great choice for a garden accent. Shredded bark is an excellent choice for covering slopes and pathways and can be purchased from several different tree species.

Shredded bark is the most common type of garden mulch. It’s easy to spread in landscapes and has many benefits, including moisture retention. In addition to retaining moisture, shredded bark is more accessible to dispose of than nuggets, and it’s known for floating in rainwater. It also adds humus to the soil, which aids in the health of your plants.


Straw is a biodegradable material often used as a lining in the garden aisle. It is cheap and biodegradable, which means that it can be quickly refreshed and is highly effective at keeping soil moisture. Straw is also effective at combating soil splash, which is the splashing of water from the upper leaves of plants onto the lower ones. Earthworms live in soil, and the improved soil quality provides an environment for these beneficial creatures to move and thrive. In addition, they provide nutrients to the plants through their castings.

Straw also helps with diseases. One of the most common diseases is blossom end rot, which is often misdiagnosed as a calcium deficiency. In reality, however, the root system of the plant cannot access calcium in the soil, and inconsistent moisture is one of the reasons it occurs. In addition, clean straw mulch reduces splash and disease and is beneficial for reducing these problems in vining plants, squashes, pumpkins, and cucumbers.

Finished animal manure

There are many benefits to using finished animal manure as a garden mulch. It can suppress weeds, reduce soil erosion, control soil temperatures, and conserve moisture. Yard waste compost is an excellent mulch for annual and perennial gardens. For best results, apply a 3 to 6-inch layer around the base of the plant and add more as needed. You can compost this material at home for even more benefits.

You can apply finished animal manure on top of the soil to create a rich layer of mulch that will benefit your plants. The carbon-rich organic mulch will help the soil aerate, adding nutrients to the soil and preventing roots from freezing. Another benefit of mulch is that fall leaves will break down into rich humus and replenish soil fertility. The organic matter in fallen leaves will also replenish soil fertility, returning nutrients to the soil.

Colored organic mulches

While natural, organic garden mulch will turn gray after a year, many options for colored mulch will complement your plants and flowers. Colored mulch is made from vegetable dyes; many are available at your local nursery. Just be sure to know your supplier and the wood used to make them. If they’re made from C&D waste, they may contain harmful chemicals. This is especially true of red and black mulch.

Plastic landscape fabric, bark, and other materials are available in various colors. Red plastic mulch will keep their roots cool and healthy for plants such as tomatoes and eggplants. Dark green and silver mulches work well for melons, peppers, and strawberries. For areas of hot climates, use white plastic mulch. Black plastic mulch is good for weed control and warming the soil. It is also an excellent choice for a variety of vegetables.


There are several advantages to using hay as a garden mulch. For starters, it will keep weeds at bay. The downside is that it may contain weed seed. This issue is hard to solve as there’s no way to know how much hay has. Even if you’re sure the hay you buy does not contain weed seed, you should check to be sure.

While hay is an excellent insulator, it’s low on nitrogen, so you’ll need to add it regularly. Hay is ideal for vegetable gardens because it breaks down quickly to enrich the soil. Alfalfa hay has a high nitrogen content and is suitable for the soil. Lastly, hay is lightweight so you can move it without heavy machinery.