Using Cedar Mulch in Your Garden 

 May 9, 2022

By  admin

Mulch is the layer of material that covers the soil, protecting against weeds and keeping moisture in. It can be used to control erosion during heavy rains or make it easier for your plants to establish a root system.

Cedar mulch is a type of bark that is typically used in gardening. The cedar mulch has the ability to kill plants over time, but this can be avoided by watering your garden regularly.

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Mulch is any substance that is placed over the soil’s surface to keep moisture in, reduce weeds, and avoid frost in the winter. Wood chips, straw, grass clippings, newspaper, and other materials are often used to make your garden appear more lovely. Cedar mulch is, in fact, the most extensively used mulch for gardening. 

Cedar mulch is formed from cedar tree wood that has been chopped or shredded. The ability to resist degradation and the crimson tint distinguish this mulch from others. It is also an insect repellant, making it a popular choice among farmers. This mulch requires little upkeep, and if you follow our instructions, you may get the full advantages of cedar mulch in your garden. 

The Benefits of Cedar Mulch 

Mulch made from cedar wood is essential for preserving soil quality, in addition to adding natural beauty to your garden. Many farmers favor it because of the following characteristics:

1. Assists in retaining soil moisture

Evaporation causes soil moisture to evaporate, creating adverse growing conditions for plants. Evaporation may be decreased by building a barrier between the soil and the air, even if temperatures cannot be regulated. Fortunately, cedar mulch accomplishes just that. It protects the soil from mild breezes by serving as a barrier and managing soil temperatures. Thus, soil moisture is maintained. 

It also keeps plants from withering between waterings, which is another advantage. Additionally, since the soil’s water retention capacity has increased, less irrigation is necessary. 

2. Enhances the appearance of flower beds

Cedarwood’s red and orange hues contrast wonderfully with green plants, making them stand out in your yard. It not only adds vibrancy to your landscape, but it also gives it a nice and consistent appearance. Also, since cedar mulch is not too costly, it is a cost-effective landscaping alternative. 

3. Repellent for insects 

Because cedar mulch naturally repels insects, it reduces the need for pesticides. Because of the natural oils and chemicals it contains, it is simple and inexpensive to eliminate or reduce insects. 

This is particularly useful around the plant base if you have an insect problem in your garden. If you want your plant to yield fruits, however, it may not be the ideal option since it repels insects. 

4. Decomposition Time 

Cedar decomposes more slowly than other organic mulches like straw, grass clippings, and pine needles. As a result, you may use the same mulch for several years without having to replace it.

Cedar also releases nutrients into the soil as it decomposes, benefiting the soil. The only condition is that you cover the places where you wish to distribute the mulch with landscaping cloth. 

5. Increases the temperature of the soil throughout the seasons

Cedar mulch acts as an insulator, keeping the soil warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Mulch helps keep the ground frozen in the winter after the earth has frozen, preventing plants from growing too early. It may also assist shade the soil throughout the summer, preventing it from being too hot for the roots. Furthermore, it aids in the uniform distribution of temperature oscillations. 

Cedar mulch is an excellent alternative if you’re searching for a long-term, low-cost way to maintain your soil quality. 

When Cedar Mulch Shouldn’t Be Used 

While it offers several advantages for your garden, it is not always the best choice. These are some of the scenarios:

1. Fragrances Sensitivity 

Because cedar has a strong scent, using it as mulch might aggravate allergies in some individuals. Even though most people like the aroma of cedar, persons with allergies may experience a variety of symptoms if they are exposed to it. Nasal congestion, sneezing, and tearful, itchy eyes are just a few of the symptoms. 

If you or a family member suffers from allergies or asthma, consider replacing cedar or other scent-free materials for pine. 

2. Soil Acidity 

Fresh wood mulches, when applied to soil with an existing low pH level, contribute acid to the soil, which might be troublesome. Even while new mulch provides acid to the soil, it is in such little amounts that it makes no effect. DIY gardeners who are currently dealing with soil acidity issues should avoid using cedar wood chips as mulch. 

Acidic Soil: What It Means and How to Deal with It

Insects that are beneficial

Even while cedar mulch is popular because of its natural insecticide properties, it is not always the best option. Because it will repel not only plant-eating pests, but also other beneficial bugs that are needed for soil and pollination. 

Ladybugs, ground beetles, damsel bugs, and other beneficial insects are examples. These insects aid in pollination and even eat harmful insects. Overall, these bugs offer a long-term, sustainable pest control option. 

4. Depletion of Nitrogen 

During its disintegration, cedar trimmings mulch takes nitrogen from the soil. This is true of all wood cutting mulches, which might result in a lack of nutrients to nourish and grow plants. 

However, since it is in close touch with the mulch, it only affects the top surface of the soil. It shouldn’t be an issue in these circumstances since the roots will still be able to obtain nutrients from the soil’s lower layers. The only exception is when mulch is incorporated into the soil layers. In such case, nitrogen levels around the roots may be depleted, resulting in unfavorable consequences for your crop. 

5. Soil with Water

Cedar mulch is known for helping the soil retain moisture, however it may not necessarily be good to your soil. Especially if your soil already retains moisture. Soil with inadequate drainage qualities may get flooded, resulting to the rot of roots and plants. If your soil is prone to becoming soggy, you should either avoid applying mulch or use it in smaller amounts. 

6. Budget Restriction 

Although cedar mulch is not particularly pricey, it is nevertheless more expensive than other mulches. The difference between the smaller bags may not be significant. When the costs of cedar mulch and other organic mulches are combined together, there may be a significant difference. 

As a result, if you’re looking to save money, cedar mulch may not be the ideal choice.

If you find yourself in one of these circumstances, you should explore your options. Leaves and pine needles, grass clippings, newspaper, and pebbles and boulders are some alternatives to cedar mulch. 

Mulch made with cedar 

While mulching is just spreading wood chips, newspaper, or grass clippings over your flower beds, it may provide several advantages if done correctly. Apply mulch to your garden using the manner shown below. 

Things You’ll Need:

You can also acquire a bucket to make storing and spreading mulch simpler. 

Steps to take

Mulching may seem to be a straightforward gardening activity, but there are more processes than you would think. These are the steps:

Mulching at the Appropriate Time 

When you mulch, it all comes down to what you want to get out of it. When it comes to mulching, various seasons have distinct consequences.

1. Springtime 

In the spring, when the earth has warmed up, consider mulching your food garden. Not to mention, chilly soil exhibits the same characteristics as wet soil. This is what prevents seed germination, and there is a higher risk of dying seeds and seedlings as a result. 

It’s simple: if DIYers want to apply a layer of mulch to the soil, waiting until it warms up is a good idea.

2. Fall

Mulches for the winter should be applied after the soil has frozen but before the cold weather starts. Before the earth freezes, spreading mulch might attract rats looking for warm locations to spend the winter.

3. Winter

Using mulch throughout the winter season helps to prevent soil from freezing towards the end of the season. Mulch also prevents the natural melting of the soil that occurs throughout the winter. This may cause serious soil degradation. 

Smaller rooted plants are pulled from the ground as a result of a long period of warm days and chilly nights. The plant will most likely die in a few days after these roots are exposed. As a result, mulching in the winter avoids the issue of temperature swings. 

4. Summer

Summer heat causes the soil to heat up, preventing plants from growing without burning. In the summer, cedar mulch helps to regulate the temperature and keep the soil cooler, making your food garden healthier. 

Finally, experts recommend mulching after spring planting. 

Calculating How Much Cedar Mulch to Purchase

You don’t want to overbuy cedar mulch and squander your money since it’s already pricey. Buying a smaller quantity, on the other hand, will force you to halt halfway through your mulching activities. As a result, purchasing the appropriate amount of mulch is critical. 

To begin figuring how much mulch you’ll need, do the following:

  • Calculate the area you wish to cover in square footage. 
  • After that, increase it by the number of inches of mulch you want to apply.
  • Finally, double that figure by 12, since a cubic foot of mulch can cover 12 square feet. 

Mulch should normally be applied in a 2-4 inch layer. If you’re unsure, this measurement may be used to mulch your garden. 

Mulch is applied to the area. 

You may begin the procedure once you have cleared out the area that needs to be mulched. Remember to clear up any dried-up leaves, sticks, or other debris in the area. Then, to properly apply mulch to your flower beds, follow these steps:

  • Because mulch helps to retain moisture, you should water your beds if they are dry to prevent weed seeds from developing. 
  • One of the primary advantages of cedar mulch is that it inhibits weed development, so eliminate any existing weeds to get a jump start. 
  • Shovel the mulch from the bucket or wheelbarrow onto the surface and distribute it evenly with your hands. 
  • Using a rake or your hands, smooth and level the surface. 
  • To keep the mulch in place, water it after you’ve applied it.

However, since there may be waterlogging, remember to softly water the area. 

Mulch Care and Maintenance 

The red color of cedar mulch fades quickly. As a result, adequate care is required to keep it looking bright and fresh at all times. Mulch, if not properly handled, may be harmful to your soil. When caring for mulch in your garden, keep the following in mind: 

  • Maintain the brilliant tone of cedar by renewing the material, at least on the top surface.
  • A little sprinkling of water over fresh mulch is OK, and it even helps prevent seepage into the soil. 
  • If you find mold growing on your mulch, gently flip it to expose all sides to air. 
  • If weeds emerge through the mulch, pull them out using your hands or a weed killer.
  • Turning mulch carefully with a rake may help keep it looking fresh. 

Following these basic guidelines will keep your cedar mulch looking fresh and new rather than faded. 

Bonus Points to Remember

In addition to following the methods outlined above, use these extra advice when mulching to protect your trees and garden beds: 

  • To avoid rotting and infections, do not pile mulch against a tree’s trunk; instead, keep it a few inches away.
  • Avoid using too much mulch because it produces shallow roots, which makes plants more prone to mortality during dry seasons.
  • When replanting, use a lighter mulch instead of cedar.
  • Remove no more than one layer of mulch after you’ve started applying it, since this will dry up the soil and kill the roots. 

Lastly, you should avoid Mulch made with cedar and other heavier mulches for vegetable gardens since the soil needs to be turned each year. 

Cons of Mulch made with cedar 

Cedar mulch, like anything else, has a negative side. As a result, while determining which mulch to use, you need consider not only the good but also the negative aspects. The following are some of the drawbacks of cedar mulch:  

Color fades quickly 

While cedar is well-known for its lovely red color, it does not survive very long. It quickly loses its earthy hue, giving your flower beds a worn look after a time. Within one or two seasons, the cloth begins to become a grey tone, making it an unappealing look for many. 

Possible Fire Risk

You’re putting yourself at danger of a fire if you use it near wooden, combustible buildings. This is due to the fact that cedar chips may become inflammable when exposed to dry and hot environments. 

Furthermore, if the mulch comes into touch with a lighter, lantern, or torch, it will catch fire and cause property damage. 

Promotes the growth of fungi 

Flowers, shrubs, and trees often favor soil that is rich in bacteria. These plants use them as a fertilizer, allowing them to germinate and produce results throughout the season.

However, fungus may begin to establish control on your land if you use cedar mulch to maintain your planted areas. Overall output may suffer as a result of this. DIYers in humid and hot climates may see problems in as little as 24 months. This is mostly due to the fact that we employ organic components in this procedure.


Cedar mulch is an organic mulch that is excellent for enhancing the beauty of your garden beds as well as the quality of the soil. However, there may be times when it is inconvenient for gardeners. The best method to make a decision is to do extensive study and consider all accessible possibilities. 

Bonus Read: Having trouble getting rid of grass-eating grubs? One of these seven grub killers should help you beat these pesky pests.

Cedar mulch is a popular choice for gardeners because it’s inexpensive and has many benefits. However, you should be aware of the problems that can arise from using cedar mulch in your garden. Reference: cedar mulch problems.

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Emil Schoene

Born and raised in Austin, TX I come from a background of home renovation. By helping my family in my younger years with their construction business, I learned the ropes quickly and as I grew it became my passion that I still do today. Looking to share my knowledge with others. I invite you to leave comments on any post as I know you will have questions that you are not finding anywhere else.

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