Cedar Mulch Pros and Cons

Here’s our guide to cedar mulch pros and cons including cost and most popular uses for the home garden.Garden landscaping with red cedar mulch Cedar mulch is a popular type of mulch consisting of pieces of the bark from cedar trees. It’s a 100% natural ground cover that has an abundance of benefit for the garden or landscaping.

What is Mulch?

Mulch is typically chipped or shredded pieces of wood. Mulch can also be made of tree bark, pine straw, moss, grass clippings or even leaves. Mulch is most commonly made of organic materials but is occasionally made from other items.

Some of the inorganic items that are used are: manure, rubber, compost or newspapers. Mulch is used most commonly as a top layer to soil to give both a fresh aesthetic and a functional quality to a landscaping.

What is Cedar Mulch Used For?

Cedar mulch in particular is one of the higher quality types of mulch. Cedar is one of the most common types of wood used for mulch. Cedar mulch is great for both the aesthetics in a garden as well as the functionality of it.

Cedar mulch is used to cover soil and provide soil insulation, water retention, weed prevention, and insect repellent.

Cedar mulch is commonly used around the bases of large trees or shrubbery as well as around flower boxes and plant beds.

Based on the area you would like to place this type of mulch may change the exact type of cedar mulch you select. For the larger plants like shrubs or trees, cedar clippings are best to be used as mulch.

When it comes to the smaller flowers and plants the mulch is better off shredded so that there is a, lighter texture to the cedar mulch.

Cedar Mulch Pros Mulch in garden landscape with plants

Stopping Weeds

One of the best things about cedar mulch is that they save you from the hassle of weeding. The first way that cedar much helps with this matter is that it protects the soil from collecting the seeds from the weeds. This way you are not just covering them up, they are truly just not growing anymore.

Additionally, the mulch gives a barrier from the sun, which is needed for a seed to become a weed, without that there will be no weeds, even if a few seeds snuck in.

Water Retention

Mulch in general is a great way to keep soil wetter for longer. Each type of mulch has differing qualities for which are better at retaining water for the soil below.

Adding cedar mulch on top of soil gives a barrier between the soil and the air, making it difficult for the water in the soil to evaporate.

This gives the plant more water in the soil without having to water them as frequently. Cedar mulch also provides protection from the wind, which can also steal some of the water the plants need.

Soil Insulation

Another great thing about mulch is that it acts as temperature regulating blanket. In hot months it helps the plants stay cool and in the winter months it helps that plants stay warm.

This is because the cedar mulch sits atop the soil and roots protecting from the harshest sun, or the occasional frost.

The insulation that the cedar mulch gives the soil can save a plants life if it is located in a fickle temperature. This makes a mulch a good idea for desert landscaping.

Mulch Appearance

Cedar mulch is extremely attractive; it can clean up a flower bed and make the entire ensemble flow together. There are tons of different color you can get cedar mulch in, allowing you to pick the overall aesthetic you want for your garden.

Adding wood mulch not only hides weeds and dirt, but it creates a neat uniform look for the entire landscape.

Mulch for Repelling Insects

Cedar mulch in particular is great at repelling bug since cedar wood in its natural form has that quality.

Cedar wood resists mite infestations and other pests, which can save some of your plants without using harmful pesticides. Keep in mind that not all pests are unwanted, but cedar repels most insects. 

Cedar Mulch ConsClose up red mulch garden

Disease or Rot

It is important to not place cedar mulch all the way up to the trunk or stems of the trees and shrubs. Since the  cedar mulch is so good at water retention it could cause a lack of airflow with too much mulch pushing water onto the base of the plants.

This could cause the tree or shrub to become diseased or cause rotting of the plant. This can be easily avoided by leaving a gap between the end of the mulch and  the base of the desired trees and shrubs.


With all the upsides to cedar mulch it is on the higher side when it comes to price for mulch. Fortunately it can save on time and money in the long run with all of its handy attributes.

Standard mulch runs about $15 to $30 per cubic yard, while cedar mulch in particular costs about $30 to $40 per cubic yard.

This price can also rise if you want the wood dyed or the chips delivered and installed for you.  These costs could add up in situations where you need a large area covered in cedar mulch.

Repelling Insects

While repelling insects is also in the pro category, it also could bring up the issue that it also repels the beneficial bugs that may be needed to keep your garden happy and healthy. Some flowers need to be pollinated or benefit from the nutrients certain insects give.


Cedar mulch is a fragrant wood and could effect some individuals with allergies, while most enjoy the scent it is important to be aware of this if anyone visiting the home or location could have allergic reaction to the smells.

Is Cedar Better than Regular Mulch?

Cedar mulch is some of the highest quality of mulch, making it a little better than some of the other types of mulch on the market.

Repelling insects and appearance are two important qualities that set cedar apart from the other mulches. That being said, there will be a price increase for being the highest quality mulch.

Meaning in some situations there may be a better type of mulch to use in a specific project. As mentioned about standard mulch is about half the price of cedar mulch.

For more related ground cover ideas visit our gallery on the types of gravel here.

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