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What are the Different Kinds of Shredded Mulch?

By Norma Jean Howland
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are several kinds of shredded mulch on the market, some of which are organic. One of the more popular types of organic mulch is made from wood that has been ground into small pieces or slivers. Another kind of mulch that has been shredded is rubber mulch. Although it is not organic, this mulch is environmentally friendly because it uses recycled rubber tires. Shredded mulch can also be created out of recycled organic yard waste, using wood chips, grass clippings, twigs, or leaves that have been cut up.

Shredded wood mulch is made by grinding up bark that has been stripped from trees before the logs are processed into lumber. The type of wood used varies, depending on where the mulch originates. This mulch could consist of poplar, oak, pine, cypress, cedar, cherry or maple wood. The mulch can be left a natural wood color or dyed in earth tones, such as gold, red, brown, black or tan.

This kind of shredded mulch comes in different consistencies: singled shredded, double shredded or triple shredded. While the shredding process changes the appearance of the mulch, it also affects how long it will last before it decomposes. In general, the single shredded mulch will last longer because it has bigger pieces of wood that take longer to break down. While the triple shredded mulch has a consistency that could be easier to work with, it may need to be top dressed more frequently.

On the non-organic side, shredded rubber mulch will last much longer than wood mulch. This relatively new type of mulch is made out of recycled rubber tire sidewalls. It can be found in some playgrounds as it provides a soft cushion under jungle gyms, swings and slides. Shredded rubber can also be useful for landscaping purposes as it does not require much maintenance. This shredded mulch can be bought in different colors to match designer landscapes in hues of blue, green, gray and other earth tones.

Of course, if a gardener prefers a more natural look, he or she only has to look to the woods to observe how nature provides an organic leaf, twig, pine needle or branch mulch. Homeowners may choose to make their own mulch recipe, combining the best of what nature has to offer. Leaves that have been shredded, untreated grass clippings, wood chips and twigs can provide an earthy, organic, natural looking mulch that is easy on the pocketbook.

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Discussion Comments

By ddljohn — On May 06, 2014

@bluedolphin-- My favorite type of mulch is cedar mulch. It has a nice color (not too light, not too dark) and a great aroma. It smells wonderful and it's great at repelling insects.

Many people use grass clippings as mulch. It can work well to fill in space and prevent weed growth but there are also downsides. One other use of mulch is to keep moisture locked in which is very beneficial in the summer. But grass seems to keep moisture out and causes soil to remain dry, which can be a problem. You could overcome this by running the grass through a compost machine so that it is too fine to block out moisture. But if you don't have access to a compost machine, you might be better off using shredded wood mulch.

By bluedolphin — On May 05, 2014

@ddljohn-- There are different types of organic mulch to choose from though. Which do you think is best? And what do you think about using grass as mulch?

By ddljohn — On May 05, 2014

Although rubber mulch recycles rubber, I don't think that this is the best type of mulch to use in a garden. It is true that this type of mulch will fill space as other types of much do. It's also true that it will prevent weeds from growing. However, it looks bad, can have an unpleasant odor and it has no benefits for soil. It will not break down and mix into soil and it will not repel insects.

I personally prefer organic mulch made from shredded wood. Good quality organic mulch works very well. It smells great after rain and slowly breaks down adding minerals and nutrients to soil. Some types of organic mulch also repel insects and snails with their scent.

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