What Is Softscape Mulch Made Of? | GroveGypsy

Many gardeners have asked, what is softscape mulch made of? Although considered a man made product, it's created using bark, leaves and other organic materials.

Four of the most commonly used materials for making softscape mulch include cedar, cypress, hardwood and pine. The makers compress the materials into tiny strips that resemble pine straw. They come in a wide variety of textures, sizes and colors, so the organic mulch is eye-pleasing and functional.

Each one of these four common types of softscape mulch materials comes in various styles, sizes and colors. Today, we will cover many of them, some of their benefits and style choices.

I’ve only used a few of these myself. But thanks to this research, I plan to expand the types of mulch I use in my garden. Next year, I’ll add a few more of these to the landscape to experiment on what works best for my Zone 9B growing area.

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What Is Softscape Mulch?

Softscape mulch is a product made from natural forest materials. It’s manufactured directly from mills. So, although it’s manmade, it’s still considered 100% organic because of the natural materials used. Plus, it’s contaminate-free, environmentally friendly and very safe to use around pets, children and plants.

This organic mulch remains fluffy throughout its lifetime. So, it allows for good drainage so the water can quickly and easily reach plant roots. If you choose to use a colored softscape mulch, rest assure that it won’t lose its color for about two years. That makes it an outstanding choice to use around shrubs, trees and edible greenery.

4 Common Types of Softscape Mulch Materials

Softscape mulches offer a wide range of choices for your landscape. Use them to mulch your garden beds or to enhance the look of your hardscapes. Here are four common materials used to create this organic mulch and some choices offered in each category:

1. Cedar Softscape Mulches

Cedar is an iconic softwood, known worldwide for its adaptability and beauty. Here are two types of cedar softscape mulches:

All Bark Cedar Mulch

Considered an outstanding Grade A mulch, this product is made using 100% cedar tree material. Manufacturers shred it very carefully until its texture is extremely soft. All Bark Cedar Mulch decays very slowly and holds its color exceptionally well.

Natural Cedar Mulch

Prefer a mulch with a natural reddish-brown tone to it? Natural Cedar Mulch makes a magnificent accent to plants throughout any landscape. This ground cover has an extended life cycle because it decays and decomposes very slowly. It helps prevent nitrogen reduction in the soil, making it a very effective mulch for seedlings and young plants.

2. Cypress Softscape Mulches

Cypress wood is commonly used in the construction industry because it’s very decay-resistant. Here are three types of cypress softscape mulches:

All Bark Cypress From Fargo Mulch

This mulch is considered super Grade A because it’s made using 100% red pond cypress. The logs are debarked and carefully shredded until they have a very soft texture. All Bark Cypress From Fargo Mulch decays slowly, helps control moisture, resists insects and retains color well.

All Bark Cypress Royale Mulch

This gourmet ground cover is made using only the bark of cypress logs. It’s a superior product with top-of-the-line color retention and consistent color and texture.

All Bark Cypress Royale Mulch has a very fluffy texture. Because of this, each bag covers up to 25% of the landscape more than most others. This makes this rich-looking mulch very cost-efficient.

Cypress Rose Organic Mulch

This is one of the most popular softscape ground covers on the market. It’s a premium-grade product that’s produced using 100% cypress trees and shrubs. The trees are cut down and the entire logs are thoroughly shredded to a uniform, consistent pattern.

Cypress Rose Organic Mulch is good for deterring insects and suppressing weeds. It decomposes slowly over time, so the colors hold well. This makes it a great choice as a decorative landscape ground cover.

3. Hardwood Softscape Mulches

Hardwood comes from flowering plants and includes oak, maple and walnut trees. Here are five types of hardwood softscape mulches:

Black Medallion Hardwood Mulch

This mulch is made using a mixture of aged hardwood barks that are processed three times to create a superiorly fine material. Black Medallion Hardwood Mulch is aged until it composts into an extremely dark black color.

Its makers screen the material to a 1-2-inch size, so it spreads with ease. The dark black color contrasts with most other parts of the landscape, giving the area a polished look.

Forest Brown Hardwood Mulch

Made from hardwood fiber products, this softscape mulch is enhanced to a natural-looking brown color. The color of Forest Brown Hardwood Mulch lasts throughout the entire season, making it a long-lasting accent for your landscape.

Hardwood Select Shredded Mulch

This ground cover is processed twice to give you a very fine consistency. It’s made from a mixture of hardwood barks and aged to a rich dark color.

Hardwood Select Shredded Mulch helps protect the roots of your plants as well as the soil. The organic mulch decomposes naturally, adding even more organic matter to the landscape.

Midnight Black Hardwood Mulch

This mulch is made using all-natural wood fiber materials. It’s color-enhanced, creating a vivid color that lasts through the entire season. Midnight Black Hardwood Mulch comes in black, brown and red, all of which make great accents for any landscape.

Pure & Black Hardwood Mulch

This black softscape material is triple processed, so the color stays vibrant longer than traditionally aged hardwood ground covers. Made from pure, enhanced hardwood bark, there are no composts or other fillers added. Pure & Black Hardwood Mulch is made using the highest quality materials, which are screened to a fine 2-inch size.

4. Pine Softscape Mulches

Pine straw is cleaned before being bailed and sold to use in landscapes. Here are five types of pine softscape mulches:

Crushed Pine Needle Mulch

This mulch is made of pine needles, which cannot be digested by termites. It has a gorgeous color and its texture is quite soft, making it both an aesthetically pleasing and very functional ground cover for any garden bed or landscape.

Crushed Pine Needle Mulch is very beneficial to surrounding greenery because it’s made using high-quality, clean pine straw fibers or longleaf. There are absolutely no chemicals added, so it creates a rich, acidic, organic addition to your fine soil.

Enrich Pine Fines/Soil Conditioner Mulch

This product is made using nothing but all-natural Southern Pine bark material that’s screened to a particle size of no more than ¼-inch. Enrich Pine Fines/Soil Conditioner Mulch adds porosity to the soil, making it perfect for areas that need better drainage.

It also adds natural, organic humus, so it’s commonly used as a soil amendment. Because of its porous nature, this softscape mulch is perfect for breaking up compacted and clay-like soils, while improving air and water penetration to the roots of plants.

Pine Bark Mini Nuggets Mulch

This fine mulch is made using all-natural Southern Pine Bark. The material is dark, rich brown, so the organic ground cover blends in nicely with the landscape. Pine Bark Mini Nuggets Mulch is screened to particle sizes between ¾-inch to 1 ¾-inch. And all particles above that size are meticulously removed.

Pine Bark Nuggets Mulch

This organic softscape mulch is also made using 100% Southern Pine Bark. However, its particle size is a bit larger, coming in at 2-4 inches. All other particles are completely removed.

Pine Bark Nuggets Mulch is aged to a vibrant brown color, which gets darker and darker as it composts over time. This ground cover is commonly used as a decorative addition to large garden beds.

Pine Mulch

This material is also made using just Southern Pink Bark. Yet, it’s screened down to a particle size of just ½-inch to 1-inch, with the fines and larger particles removed. Pine Mulch comes in a lush brown color, so it’s a very popular ground cover for landscapes and gardens.

About THE AUTHOR

Kiesha Joseph

Kiesha Joseph

Kiesha Joseph is an avid gardener dedicated to simple urban gardening on a budget. She enjoys sharing her Zone 9B Inland Empire, California experiences, as well as inexpensive DIY landscaping techniques. She loves experimenting in the garden, even if the project seems to be a failure. According to her, she does not learn from her successes. She learns from her failures. And that’s why she is determined to keep experimenting.

Read more about Kiesha Joseph