Which Mulch Should You Use in Your Richmond, VA Flowerbed?


If you live in or around the colonial city of Richmond, VA, you probably want your flowerbed’s beauty to match that of this beautiful city.  When most people think of their flowerbeds, they think about shrubs, flowers, and other plants.  However, mulching is an often overlooked component of a flowerbed that both enhances the flowerbed’s natural beauty and provides nutrients that help the bed’s plants flourish.

This short guide will help you decide which type of mulch to use in your flowerbeds.

There are two types of “mulch”: organic, and inorganic.

Organic mulch is made of plant matter, and must be replaced regularly (typically annually).  Inorganic mulch includes rocks, gravel, sand, or even glass rocks, and typically only needs to be installed once.

We recommend going with organic mulch in the Richmond area.  Simply put, most plants and flowers that thrive in the Richmond area require the nutrients from organic mulch, that inorganic mulches do not provide.

Shredded Tree Park: This is by far the most common type of mulch used in this region.  It’s typically made from either hardwood trees or pine, and lasts about an entire year.  The nutrients that it provides are excellent.  Just make sure to get mulch free of any chemicals.

Wood Chips:  These are the same material as tree bark, but in a different form.  If you prefer the asthetic look of woodchips, feel free to use them.  But, make sure they are the small variety; larger wood chips tend to prevent water and nutrients from penetrating the soil.

Pine Needles:  Typically pine needles are best suited for tree groves.  While they can be used for flowerbeds, they usually look messy and out of place.  Additionally, wind can cause them to blow all over your yard, and that’s just a mess.  They can also raise the acidity in your soil, so if you do want to use pine needles, it’s best to check the PH every once in awhile.  


And a final note on the quality of mulch

Do not under ANY circumstances buy mulch from the dump.  While yes, you can save quite a bit of money, you have no idea what types of wood went into that mulch.  For all you know, there could be Ikea chairs full of chemicals, or more commonly (and more detrimentally), lumber full of termites.

Mulch can be planted any time of year, and should be replaced annually.  If you’d like some help spreading mulch, visit our Richmond lawn care page to learn about our offerings.


Scott Johnson

Scott is a research analyst and writer for the LawnStarter blog. He's a lawn care expert, avid gardener, and dog lover.