Florida Yards &
Neighborhoods (FYN)

FYN Principle #4 - Mulch

Using organic mulch in your landscape is one of the most important things you can do for the following reasons:

  • Organic mulch helps to retain moisture in the soil.

  • It moderates soil temperature extremes.

  • It helps to suppress weed growth.

  • It can inhibit some plant diseases.

  • It enhances soil quality as it decomposes, which is sorely needed by our sandy, nutrient-deficient soils.

Use by-product or alternative mulches such as pine bark or needles, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, or municipal mulch.

  • Pine mulch can help to lower soil pH.

  • Melaleuca is one of the best mulch materials available because it floats less and is more termite-resistant than Cypress. Also, it costs Florida taxpayers more than $2 million annually to control and remove the invasive Melaleuca tree, so by purchasing Melaleuca mulch you are aiding in its eradication. To find a distributor of Melaleuca mulch visit www.gomulch.com.

  • Cypress mulch is not recommended because it is a desirable native tree that is being harvested from our wetlands; also, Cypress does not have superior resistance to insects or decay, as was once believed.

Inorganic mulch (stone, shell, etc.) should only be used in areas where you do not want to conserve moisture, such as around the foundation of your home, in pathways, etc. Inorganic mulches can raise the temperature around your plants, reflect heat onto your plants and raise the soilís pH, all of which make for unfavorable growing conditions.

Proper Mulching Techniques

  • Apply mulch to a depth of 2 to 3 inches.

  • Keep mulch at least three inches away from stems and trunks to prevent rot.

  • Do not mulch over a plantís root ball when planting.

  • Create self-mulching areas under trees where leaves can stay after they fall.

  • Mulch out to the treeís drip line or beyond.

  • Periodically rake old mulch to break up any matted layers and to refresh the appearance. Add mulch as necessary to keep the depth at 2 to 3 inches.


  • Florida Power & Light has a free mulch program and they can deliver it to you by the truckload. The mulch is made from vegetation that has been trimmed away from utility lines. Call 941.639.1106 for more information.

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