Bark mulch keeps the soil moist and inhibits weed growth. When it decomposes, nutrients are also released. Its use is therefore suitable for every garden. But which type and which grain size are suitable for mulching?

Bark Mulch Varieties

Bark mulch is a waste product, since the tree trunks have to be freed from the bark during wood processing. Because different tree species are processed in the sawmill, there are also different types of bark mulch. The most common types of bark mulch used in this country are:

  • pine mulch
  • larch mulch
  • Fir and spruce mulch
  • pine mulch

There are also a few more exotic variants such as mulch made from maple or mahogany trees.

Tip: Bark mulch is also available in conventional or organic quality. If possible, mulch with the slightly more expensive organic quality so that you do not bring any pollution into the garden.

Properties of the bark mulch varieties

All types of bark mulch develop more or less the same characteristics. Namely the suppression of weeds by contained tannic acid, protection of the root area from cold and frost, keeping the soil moist and finally the provision of nutrients while they rot. But some types of bark mulch also show a few different properties. Therefore, find out more about the products on offer before you make your purchase decision. Below we take a closer look at some varieties.

Note: In order for the mulch to develop all its properties, it must be applied thickly enough. Depending on the garden area, the layer can be as little as four or up to ten centimeters.

pine mulch

The pine is one of the most common native tree species. So it is not surprising that pine mulch is also often offered. It suppresses weeds very well. The high wood content of the pine bark makes this mulch water-repellent and weather-resistant. However, pine mulch rots quickly and must therefore be replaced more often. So its low price compared to other varieties may not be a bargain in the long run.

larch mulch

The wood of the larch is also considered to be very durable outdoors. The same is true of their bark. That is why larch mulch is also referred to as the most durable bark mulch variety. There is talk of a decomposition time that is up to four times longer. This makes it ideal for all areas that should remain covered for a longer period of time. Many people also find this type of mulch to be visually appealing. Otherwise, larch mulch is used in the same way as pine mulch.

Tip: Paths can also be covered with chopped wood, which is cheaper than mulch.

Spruce and fir mulch

The decorative spruce mulch is an alternative to pine mulch. Spruce bark is thinner and darker than that of pine. Because it is also more fibrous, it also decomposes more quickly into nutrient-rich humus. Spruce mulch is usually offered in fine or medium grain and has a pH value that is only slightly acidic. It is one of the cheapest bark mulch products. But be wary of offers that are too tempting. The contents may have been contaminated with various substances. Fir bark is usually processed with spruce bark and offered as a mixture.

pine mulch

Pine mulch is not a regional product, as pine mainly grows in southern Europe. Environmentally conscious gardeners will weigh up carefully whether the long transport route is still acceptable for them. This variety has the following characteristics:

  • Pine mulch rots more slowly
  • Pine bark is more nutritious than other barks
  • shows less pollution
  • changes the pH less
  • has an attractive reddish tinge by nature
  • smells pleasant while rotting
  • may be slightly more expensive

Decorative mulch

Decor mulch does not represent any specific tree species. It is colored mulch, which is increasingly being used as a decorative design element. It is already available in stone grey, nut brown, golden yellow, red, green or blue. If demand persists or even continues to grow, it can be assumed that more and more new variants will come onto the market.

The different grits

The peeled bark of the tree trunks is ground or sieved to varying degrees of fineness. Different grits are commercially available. A distinction is primarily made between fine and coarse. But even these two categories can be subdivided even more finely.

  • very fine grain size below 10 mm
  • fine grain up to 20 mm
  • medium grain up to 40 mm
  • coarse grain up to 80 mm
  • very coarse grain up to 120 mm

The finer the grain, the faster the mulch decomposes. However, poorer qualities are not neatly separated, so that coarse mulch can also contain finer parts.

Note: Since there is no strictly uniform subdivision, you should pay attention to the specified size of the grit rather than the designation itself.

Areas of application for different grits

Because the mulch is offered finely and coarsely, different areas of application in the garden can be ideally covered. In general, it can be said that the larger the area to be covered, the larger the grain size selected. Apart from that, the different grits are suitable for the following purposes:

  • very fine to fine grain is ideal for tubs and flower boxes
  • mulch small beds, flower borders and rock gardens with a medium grain size
  • coarse grain for paths or free spaces between bushes
  • very coarse grain is optimal fall protection under swings, climbing frames, etc.
Note: In addition to the size of the grain, you should also pay attention to the RAL quality mark so that you can be sure that bark was actually used for the bark mulch and not small chopped wood. This does not contain tannic acid, which ensures weed suppression.

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