Wood Mulches are the most commonly used mulch in many regions, since wood tends to be in plentiful supply. There are a number of different kinds of wood mulches, but all are essentially from the same source: waste materials from either the lumber industry or the landscaping industry.
Wood chips are the product of chippers, which are used to process waste wood after pruning or clearing.
- The big advantage with wood chips is that they are generally free (or at least inexpensive), since they receive no processing aside from the chipping on site.
- Fresh wood chips are "hot", and need to be seasoned for several months before they are safe to use in garden beds (though they are fine for pathways)
- Wood chips have an inconsistent texture.
- Wood chips may contain thorns, coniferous needles, poison ivy, diseased materials, herbicides and pesticides, trash, etc.
Shredded wood is made from either wood chips or larger pieces of wood using a drum grinder or similar industrial-scale machine.
- Consistent texture
- Readily available in many regions
- Can sometimes be hot or sour
- Can contain disease spores if not seasoned
Dyed Shredded Wood
Dyed wood mulches are derived from a number of sources, including chips, larger wood, and waste lumber such as pallettes.
- Consistent texture and color
- Dyes stain hands and clothing.
- Does not biodegrade as quickly
Bark mulch is derived from forest products, when trees are debarked at the mill.
- Attractive and long-lasting