Mulch Update 2024

Over the years, mulch and mulching have had a rich history in landscape gardening. In the late 1960’s and early 70’s, mulch was a new thing, and local saw mills produced the only products that were available. As the practice of mulching has caught on so came an industry of producing mulch from saw mills across the nation. The different trees harvested regionally produced different mulches with varying characteristics. Now consumers have access to a wide variety of choices.

With time and research, we have learned the horticultural benefits of mulch: weed suppression, moisture retention, and adding organic material to the soil. Yet today color, texture, rot resistance and of course, price seem to be the drivers in mulch selection.

Here are our offerings. We have bagged All Bark Cypress, Western Cedar, Eastern Cedar (Natural color & dyed, Red, Black & Brown), Pine Bark, Cocoa, Pine Straw and, new this year, Redwood. We also offer bulk Hardwood and Pine mulch. Below we have described the mulches in greater detail individually.

Just one more note, it is the bark content of mulch that helps natural mulches hold their color. All wood tends to “tan out or grey out” over time. So, mulches that have a high bark content have a higher quality than those that are all wood or have a high wood content.

All Bark Cypress:

We have led mid-Michigan, for over 30 years, being the first to bring quality Cypress mulch to market. I am saddened to say we will NOT be bringing in cypress mulch for 2024. Cypress has always been a volatile market with shortages, long lead times, major swings in pricing and manufacturers coming and going. Our most recent vendor is no longer in business and with the pricing being almost $7.00 more expensive than any other product, it is time to move to a more sustainable product. We do have a few bags remaining that we will sell for last year’s pricing. We have a replacement, Redwood. Although different, Redwood still has many of the same qualities as Cypress. We would like to thank all those devoted customers for their years of patronage and hope you find Redwood a suitable replacement at a significantly reduced price.


Redwood is a very similar product to Cypress. Redish brown color, shredded texture that knits together and is resistant to rot. I am promised that supply and delivery should not be a problem and pricing should be stable. At $10.25 a bag, it will be a much better value than Cypress at $16.90. This product is primarily made from Redwood Bark with little wood. I think you’ll like it.

Western Cedar or Classic Cedar:

Western or Classic Cedar is also a rot-resistant mulch but has a more brown/red tone. It, too, is shredded so that it stays put even in windy locations. An excellent mulch. We will be changing suppliers later in the season but it will still be the same great mulch just in a different bag.

Eastern Cedar:

Since this is also a cedar mulch it too is rot resistant and will last longer than most mulches. It has a great shredded texture from its mostly bark makeup. The brown bark does have some tan wood chips but is an awesome mulch for its price.

Eastern Cedar – Red, Black, Brown:

We have held out on selling colored mulches because most manufacturers use ground wood from pallets and other wood products, no bark. Our dyed mulches use the Natural Cedar (from above) as a base to add color to a great mulch. With the dye eliminating the tan chips of the Natural Cedar it makes a super mulch if you’re looking for a colored mulch.

Pine Bark Mulch:

Pine bark is one of the best mulches we sell to do good things for the soil. As mulch decomposes it becomes Compost. Pine bark may not last as long as other mulches but that is why it is so good for the soil. It has a fine texture and works great for weed suppression and it has a pleasant brown color that lasts. It may be prone to move in windy areas. We have been forced to change vendors on Pine Bark also as they are the same supplier of Cypress that is no longer in business. We have already received the first shipment of the new Pine Bark and it looks good. The other change is the new bag will be 2 cu. ft. instead of 3 cu. ft. This means lighter, easier-to-handle bags. Even with the smaller bags the cost will be 40 cents per cu. ft. less. Just remember you will need 50% more bags.

Cocoa Mulch:

Coco mulch is a great mulch used anywhere but is frequently used with annual plantings. It helps with weeding and moisture retention yet will not inhibit the growth of some sensitive annual plantings. It has a flakey texture that may make it want to blow away,  but after it is watered in a few times, it sticks together but allows water and air to pass through. Oh, did I mention that chocolate smell? You may need to be careful as some dogs can’t resist eating this sweet mulch. After the annual season is over and the annuals are removed, just till it into the planting bed, and it creates a great soil amendment for next year’s plants. Pine bark can also be used this way.

Pine Straw:

If you have ever seen the gardens at Augusta National Golf Course for the Masters Tournament then you know about Pine Straw mulch. Pine straw is an excellent mulch used more widely in the south. It is pine needles that are gathered from the southern pine forests so that should give you an idea of color and texture. It is moderate at its rate of decomposing and knits in nicely. This may aid a litle in acidifying the soil but it will not have a major impact on your soils PH.

Bulk Hardwood:

Hardwood is a mix of medium-sized chips to fine. Having a color that starts a medium brown then, over time, ages to a mid-tan. It is moderately rot-resistant and can be a problem in windy sites.

Bulk Pine:

The bulk Pine is similar to the bulk Hardwood with the exception of having a slightly more reddish color. Pine may also aid, to some small extent, in acidifying the soil. But if your plants need a lower PH, you will still need to add garden sulfur.

Now that we have given you all this information, I’m sure we missed something or spurred a question or two. Feel free to contact us, we would be happy to help you with your questions. Thank you very mulch.


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Answer Provided By ...

Jerry Somalski

Jerry is a Landscape Designer, Project Manager, and the President of Bay Landscaping. He began learning about plants and landscape design as a young boy, hoeing in the family nursery and tagging along with the landscape crews who taught him the tools and methods of the trade. After earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at Central Michigan University, he returned to the family business. Jerry has an enthusiastic yet practical approach to landscape design, focused on choosing the right plants (ones that thrive in the mid-Michigan climate) for the right place to create sustainable and spectacular landscapes. He loves to share what he knows with gardeners throughout Michigan! Learn more about Jerry >>