Which Type of Mulch Lasts Longest?

If you’re looking for the perfect mulch for your garden, look no further. Here, we will be discussing everything there is to know about mulch: the different types, their benefits, and what works best for you. We will go over all the different types of mulch and soon enough, you will know exactly what your garden needs. So, what types of mulch last the longest?

What Types of Mulch Last the Longest?

For the most part, all organic mulch has a similar lifespan. However, this can vary based on how you treat it and your gardening routine. Most organic mulch lasts around five to six years. This, again, can vary. Depending on the thickness and durability of the materials used, your mulch could last many more years.

The longest-lasting mulch would be stone as it doesn’t break down like other mulches. If we’re talking strictly organic and decomposing mulches, tree bark mulches last quite a long time but still eventually decompose. So, you may be wondering now; what is the difference between organic and inorganic mulch? And what will work best for me?

Types of Mulch and Their Lifespans

There are many different types of mulch all made of different materials. It can be hard to know which is best for you and your garden. But first, let’s put things more simply. How about splitting the different kinds into two categories? There are two main different types of mulch.

Organic vs Inorganic Mulch

Organic vs inorganic mulch is the first thing you need to know about. So, what is organic mulch? Organic mulch is anything that naturally decomposes and is a natural part of the environment that it’s in. It’s made out of materials from the same environment it is placed in.

On the other hand, inorganic mulch is exactly the opposite. Inorganic mulch is artificial and isn’t from the environment that it comes from. These are products that you purchase and use in place of organic mulch. They commonly take longer to decompose and aren’t any good for composting.

Now that we understand this key difference, let’s dive further into this. Here are some different kinds of mulch and a bit of information on each of them.


One of the many organic materials you could use to make mulch is leaves. When the leaves fall in the later months of the year, you can collect them into a waste bag and use them as mulch. Some people even prefer to have them chopped up into more manageable pieces. This mulch doesn’t last long, however, lasting only up to a year. They are still great to throw into a custom batch of mulch to use with other organic mulches. They are also great for composting.


Very light and convenient, introducing straw mulch. Straw is a very easy-to-use mulch; it is easy to work with and does well as a companion to other organic mulch ingredients or on its own. The straw gives your soil a lot of additional nutrients you may miss out on if you used other materials. It’s really great stuff to add to your garden but only lasts about a year. Keep this in mind when choosing from other options.

Large Shredded Bark

Shredded bark is one of the most durable and easy mulches to use. It decomposes naturally but takes a long while to do so. It takes three years to be fully decomposed. This mulch is very durable and works great if you’re looking for something big and sturdy. Shredded bark is a great material to add to any mulch, and it works all on its own just as well.


Did you know that you can use newspapers as mulch? Yes, you can use pieces of newspaper to mulch your garden, and there are actually a few great benefits to this. Newspaper can be used as a weed killer as well as mulch. If you water the newspapers after placing them down, they will promptly suffocate the weeds. One thing to make note of is that it only lasts for about six to seven weeks.

Pine Needles

Another great source of mulch is pine trees. Using your leftover pine needles as mulch can actually make use for them instead of just leaving them under your pine trees. One thing to consider is that pine is acidic, so if you have any plants you need to mulch that can’t handle acidity, do not use pine needles as mulch. Other than that, they are convenient and easy to use as well as last about six weeks.

Which Mulch Holds its Color Longest?

Over time, your mulch may start to wear down and look duller as a result of the sun. If you’re looking for a durable and long-lasting mulch that maintains its color time after time, dyed brown or black mulches are your best bet.

Anything that is initially darker will last longer out in the sun. So, if you’re looking for mulch to buy instead of making your own, keep this in mind. If you’re looking to make the mulch on your own, try using a mix of different barks. Whatever you choose to use, just know that it will fade faster if it’s already light in color.

In Conclusion

Overall, there is a lot of selection to choose from when it comes to mulch. Make sure that you’re well-versed in the different lifespans of these types of mulch. Whatever you choose to go with, you want it to be right for you and your garden.

When choosing a mulch, you want to make sure that you’re factoring everything in. Make sure that your mulch lasts the proper amount of time and that it isn’t going to wear out in color overtime. While it is important to switch out your mulch every now and then, you want to make sure you’re using something that will last a good enough stretch of time.

Just remember if you aren’t satisfied with the mulch, you currently use; it won’t last forever. Once the time comes to replace it, try something new. You never know what you don’t try.

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