What is the difference between natural mulch and organic mulch?

Organic mulch is a thin layer of natural material placed on top of soil to keep it moist, and to prevent the soil from drying out. People usually buy it from a plant nursery or garden shop.

Organic mulch can be leaf litter, bark chips, manure, hay, straw, kitchen food scraps, wool, shells, sawdust, pine needles, coconut husks, and grass clippings. 

Natural mulch (left) and organic mulch (right)

Some mulch, such as coconut husks, are poisonous to domestic animals, such as cats and dogs. 

People use organic mulch in parks and gardens.

In nature, natural mulch is leaf litter (dead leaves) and anything that falls from trees and forms a layer on the ground. 

Natural mulch and organic mulch are both from natural parts of the environment, but natural mulch occurs in the wild and organic mulch is commercially packaged and bought. Natural mulch takes a long time to occur, and organic mulch is ready-made.

Many animals like mulch because it is moist and a good place to find insects, arachnids, and bugs to eat.

Millipedes and centipedes like living in mulch. Spiders and other arachnids like mulch. The grubs and larvae of beetles like mulch. Earthworms also like mulch. 

Organic mulch – bark chips (wood chips)
Natural mulch – leaf litter
Natural mulch – leaf litter

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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