Is Cedar Mulch The Right Choice For Your Gardening Needs?

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When it comes to mulch, there are a lot of choices. Cedar mulch is one option that is popular among gardeners. But is it the right choice for your gardening needs? There are a few things to consider before making a decision.

Here in this post, we will discuss the pros and cons of cedar mulch and help you make a decision for your own gardening needs.

what is cedar mulch?

Cedar mulch is a type of mulch made from cedar trees. It is often used in landscaping and gardens because it is attractive and has a pleasant smell. Cedar mulch also has some benefits for plant growth, such as suppressing weeds and retaining moisture.

The pH of cedar mulch is slightly acidic, with a range of 5.5 to 6.2. This is due to the decomposition of the cedarwood, which releases tannins and other acids into the soil.

The acidity of the mulch helps to release nutrients from the soil, making them more available to plants.

Cedar mulch can be of many colors from a naturally reddish, to a dyed brighter red, black or brown. The pigments of the mulch are non-toxic so it is totally safe to use indoors. The color of the mulch however fades away in time from exposure to sunlight.

Pros and cons of using cedar mulch

There are both pros and cons to using cedar mulch in gardens and landscapes.


Some of the benefits of using cedar mulch are:

Cedar mulch regulates soil temperature with efficiency. The mulch acts as an insulator, protecting the roots of plants from extreme temperatures. This is especially beneficial in areas with hot summers and cold winters.

Using cedar mulch is an excellent way to reduce soil moisture evaporation. By covering the ground with a layer of cedar mulch, you can reduce the amount of water that evaporates from the soil surface.

Like any other mulch, it reduces the likelihood of weeds growing. The mulch creates a barrier that prevents weed seeds from germinating and growing. Additionally, the cedar mulch helps to smother existing weeds. This is a great way to keep your garden looking neat and tidy!

Cedar mulch is an excellent insect repellant due to its high concentration of natural oils. These oils work to repel a variety of insects, including ants, bees, and mosquitoes. Cedar mulch is also effective at deterring other pests, such as rabbits and deer.

Cedar mulch is an excellent way to prevent water runoff, by creating a barrier between the soil and the water, keeping the soil in place, and preventing erosion.

Cedar mulch has an attractive color and can add an extra appeal to any garden or landscaping. This is also a good choice for those who are looking for an alternative to traditional pine straw or bark mulches.

Cedar mulches are made from the bark of cedar trees, and these bark chips break down slowly, so they last longer than other types of mulch. So your replacement cost will be very less.


Some of the major problems of using cedar mulch in the garden are:

  • As it is made of real cedar wood, the mulch is very expensive compared to other mulches.
  • The cedar smell can be quite off-putting to some people. It is simply too strong and overbearing for many gardeners. So, if you are not a fan of the scent, it will not be an ideal choice for you.
  • It can deplete the soil of nitrogen. Cedar mulch is composed of a high percentage of lignin, which is a complex polymer that is resistant to decomposition. This property gives cedar mulch a longer-lasting freshness but also means that it takes significantly longer to break down and release nutrients back into the soil.
  • In the meantime, as the mulch decomposes, it pulls nitrogen from the soil in order to fuel the process, effectively depleting the soil of this essential nutrient.
  • The aromatic oils in cedar that prevent pests from attacking your plants, can also discourage many beneficial insects to enter your garden.
  • The cedar mulch will make the soil more acidic due to the breakdown of the organic matter. While a little bit of acidity is good for your plants if the soil is already acidic it may increase the level and create problems for the plants.

hardwood mulch vs cedar mulch

There are a few key differences between hardwood mulch and cedar mulch. Hardwood mulch is made from recycled wood chips, while cedar mulch is made from cedar trees.

Cedar mulch is more expensive than hardwood mulch, but it lasts longer and has a stronger scent. Cedar mulch also repels bugs and insects, while hardwood mulch does not.

cedar mulch vs black mulch

There is a significant difference between black mulch and cedar mulch. Black mulch is generally made from different materials, including wood chips, lava rock, and rubber, whereas cedar mulch is made from cedar trees.

Both types of mulch help suppress weeds, retain moisture, and protect plants. But black mulch is more durable and lasts longer than cedar mulch. Cedar mulch also has a more pleasant smell than black mulch.

But like anything that is black, black mulch also increases the soil temperature so use black mulch with caution, especially in hot, sunny areas.

cedar mulch vs pine mulch:

Both types of mulch have their own unique benefits that can be advantageous for different purposes.

For instance, cedar mulch is known for being more effective in repelling insects and pests, while pine mulch is known for being more effective in suppressing weeds.

Pine mulch usually won’t last as long as cedar mulch, on the flip side, it can retain its color better than cedar mulch.

Pine mulch is also not as costly as cedar mulch so it is a better choice for use in landscapes.

is cedar mulch better than regular mulch

There are a few key reasons why cedar mulch is often seen as being better than regular mulch. Firstly, cedar mulch breaks down more slowly than regular mulch, meaning that it will last longer before needing to be replaced.

Cedar mulch also has natural insect-repellent properties, which can help to keep pests away from your plants. Also, cedar mulch has a very pleasant smell, which can make your garden more enjoyable to spend time in.

when not to use cedar mulch:

Cedar mulch has many benefits that make it a popular choice for landscaping. However, there are also some situations when cedar mulch is not the best option.

If you have acidic soil, cedar mulch is not the best option as it will lower the pH of your soil even further.

Cedar mulch is also not ideal for wet areas, as it can hold water and create a soggy environment that is perfect for mold and mildew to grow.

Tender plants may also suffer in cedar mulch, as the sharp edges of the wood chips can damage delicate roots and leaves.

Beneficial insects may be discouraged by cedar mulch, as the strong smell of the wood can repel many helpful insects. So if you planning to make a pollinator-friendly garden, or if you want to use the power of beneficial insects in your garden then it is best to avoid cedar mulch.

Finally, if you are on a tight budget may want to avoid cedar mulch, as it can be quite expensive compared to other types of mulch.

Decorative mulch for indoor plants

Mulch is spread over the surface of the soil to conserve moisture in the soil, but it can also serve as a decorative element in indoor plants. There are many different types of mulch available, but the most common mulch used for indoor plants is wood chips or shredded bark.

Can you use cedar mulch as decorative mulch for indoor plants

Yes, cedar mulch can be used as decorative mulch for indoor plants. Cedar mulch is a type of wood mulch it looks aesthetically good indoors. It has many benefits for plant life, including its ability to retain moisture, protect plants from extreme temperatures, and prevent erosion.

Other Decorative mulch for indoor plants:

Some of the most popular decorative mulch for indoor plants are

  • Shells and pebbles,
  • Colored marble chips,
  • Colored beads,
  • buds etc.


In conclusion, cedar mulch is an excellent choice for your gardening needs. It is durable, attractive, and easy to care for. It will add value to your home and garden, and provide you with years of enjoyment.

Unless you have acidic soil or are too tight on your budget it can be a great choice for you. Cedar mulch is easily available online and also in your local garden stores. So availability is not a problem.

We hope the information was helpful to you. We have a ton of articles on organic gardening, if you are interested you can check them here.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  • What is red cedar mulch?

    Red cedar mulch is the most popular type of cedar mulch. It is made from 100% red cedar wood and is dyed a deep red color.

  • What does cedar mulch look like?

    Cedar mulch is a type of mulch that is made from cedar trees. It is usually brown or red in color and has a strong smell. Cedar mulch is popular because it is long-lasting and helps to repel insects.

  • Is cedar mulch good for flower beds?

    Cedar mulch is an excellent addition to flower beds. It helps retain moisture in the soil, which is essential for flower growth. Cedar mulch also provides nutrients to the soil that are necessary for plant growth. Additionally, cedar mulch helps control weeds by preventing them from germinating.

  • Can I Use Cedar mulch for the vegetable garden?

    Cedar mulch is a type of mulch made from cedar trees. It is often used in vegetable gardens because it helps to retain moisture in the soil and keeps the roots of plants cool. Cedar mulch also has a pleasant smell and can deter pests from entering the garden.

  • Can I Use Cedar Mulch For Tomatoes?

    Cedar mulch for tomatoes is a great way to keep your tomatoes healthy and free of pests. The cedar oil in the mulch repels insects, and the mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil, which is especially important in hot, dry weather. Cedar mulch also breaks down slowly over time, adding nutrients to the soil as it does so.

  • Will cedar mulch kill plants?

    There is a common misconception that cedar mulch will kill your garden. This is not the case. The cedar tree is a naturally-occurring source of mulch, and it is not poisonous to plants. In fact, cedar mulch can be beneficial to gardens because it helps retain moisture and prevents weed growth.

  • Does cedar repel bees?

    You can use cedar shavings under/around your hives. Cedar won’t harm Honey Bees. In fact, Western Red Cedar is a popular wood choice for hives all around the world because of its durability and also the fact that they are not aromatic like Spanish cedar.

  • Why does cedar smell so good?

    Cedar smell so good because it contains the compound thujaplicin. This compound is found in the essential oils of many plants and is known for its pleasant, woody aroma. Thujaplicin is also used in perfumes and other fragrances, as it can help to mask other unpleasant smells.

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