University of Florida

Mulch Alternatives

Mulch is any material applied to the soil surface to protect or enhance the landscape. Traditional mulches are made from bark, pine needles, or chipped wood, but alternative mulches are growing in popularity.

Some are made out of organic materials like pecan or cocoa bean shells. These mulches are often made from industrial byproducts, so the availability may vary in different parts of the country.

Other alternative mulches include plastic pine straw and shredded recycled car tires, which are becoming more available.

Gravel, pebbles, and crushed stone are great inorganic mulch options. They're attractive, come in different colors, and are easy to clean with the spray of a hose. Just be sure to underlay them with woven ground cloth to keep them on top of the soil.

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