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The Best Mulch for Repelling Bugs

Mulch is one thing that gardening experts know they simply cannot do without. Mulch is great for keeping weeds from growing, retaining moisture and preventing erosion, and even providing nutrients to the plants themselves over time. In addition, sometimes mulch can provide the added benefit of pest repellent. Click here for more information Wood Land Tree Services CO.

Bugs can be very useful to local ecosystems and microbial life. However, their presence can also become a holy terror for trees and other plant life when they are left unchecked. Pests can cause damage to root systems and bring disease that kills trees rapidly. That is why, when it comes to tree care, it is pretty important to have a way of repelling them. In this case, choosing the right mulch can go a long way. Let’s talk about that. 

Organic Mulches

Organic mulches are aptly named in the sense that they are simply mulches made from organic matter. The best organic mulches to pick for repelling bugs are made from cypress and cedar. Cypress and cedar mulches both contain certain oils (like thujone), that are naturally pest deterrent. Bugs simply don’t like these compounds and will steer clear of the tree itself when it is present around the root system. 

An added benefit of organic mulches made from cedar and cypress are that they break down rather easily over time and provide plenty of nutrients to the tree itself. They also help to promote growth of fungi, and insects that are beneficial to the soil as opposed to damaging ones. However, one negative side effect is that cedar and cypress mulches can become sun bleached rather easily and will change color over time–this can be unsightly at times. 

Inorganic Mulches

Inorganic mulches are mulch products made from man-made materials such as rubber or plastics. These are typically not as good at repelling insects as organic mulches are but can still do the trick. Plastic mulches are thin sheets made from polyethylene and will cover the base of the tree or plant completely. These are highly reflective of sunlight, and are great at blinding and repelling whiteflies, leafhoppers, and other such pests. 

The major drawback of plastic mulches is that they are only really effective at repelling bugs when they are receiving direct sunlight. If there is anything more than 40% shade on the mulch, it will be unlikely to perform as expected in your bug repelling needs. In this regard, plastic mulches are not as effective as organic mulches, as the outside variables need to be considered more carefully. 


As a general rule, when trying to repel insects and pests from your roots and trees, going as organic as possible is going to be best. In this way, you get more added benefits with very few drawbacks. Other options for organic mulches are cocoa bean shells and straw. These mulches can also perform quite admirably at repelling bugs but aren’t as aesthetically pleasing. The best overall option here is likely to be cedar or cypress mulches, for the most in value and performance. 

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