How Do I Choose the Right Mulch for My Landscape?

a fine mulchWhy add mulch?

Mulch is a landscaper’s best friend because it:

  • reduces weeds;
  • improves moisture retention;
  • maintains soil temperatures; and
  • enhances the beauty of landscapes.

Mulch is basically a magic carpet for your landscape.

How do you choose the right mulch for your landscape?

Using quality mulch in your garden is one of the easiest ways to transform your landscape. Mulch comes in all shapes and sizes and flavors. When choosing a mulch there are a few factors to consider – species of wood, source, size, and color – to identify a mulch that will best fit your needs. Since the selection process can be tricky we summarized our most popular mulches with the following descriptions.


This mulch has a pleasant cedar smell that lasts a fair amount of time after spreading. Cedar is also great for repelling insects. Cedar mulch has a very slow decay process so it won’t break down quickly. Also, cedar mulch is the most resistant to artillery fungus.

  • AVAILABLE IN BULK:  Canadian Cedar is available at our Harvest New England locations in Connecticut.
  • AVAILABLE IN BAGS: Cedar Mulch Blend (2-cubic-foot bags) by Garden Pro® is available in stores in New England, the Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast.


This is a recycled mulch usually made from hardwood logs and bark. These types of mulches break down quickly and add nutrients to the soil. Natural colorants make this mulch stand out.


This mulch has a naturally rich dark color with a pleasant pine scent. Pine mulch is a slow decomposer and is often over looked. This mulch has great longevity and is relatively inexpensive!

  • AVAILABLE IN BULK: Pine Blend is one of our most popular mulches, available in New England (Connecticut). Pine Fines are an exceptional soil conditioner for acid-loving plants such as azaleas, hollies and magnolias – available in the Mid-Atlantic (Maryland, DC, Virginia).
  • AVAILABLE IN BAGS: We offer a variety of Pine- based mulches including Pine Bark Mulch in two-cubic-foot bags in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.


This mulch has strong reddish and orange tones which add rich color to landscapes. Hemlock mulch is very aromatic. Just like cedar and pine mulch, hemlock mulches decomposes slowly so it is long lasting. Hemlock has a natural reddish look.

  • AVAILABLE IN BULK: Hemlock Mulch is available in at our Harvest New England locations.
  • AVAILABLE IN BAGS: Hemlock Mulch Blend is available in two-cubic-foot bags in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.a course mulch

Where can I find mulch from Harvest?

Great question! In addition to the mulches listed above, we offer a variety of mulch (and soil) products throughout North America. Find a convenient location near you:

Other Common Mulch-Related Topics:

Editor’s Note: This article was originally posted as “Choosing a Mulch: Practical Beauty” in March 2014; it has been re-posted with permission by the author, Shelley Sales, with updated content, availability, links and video.

Recycling Christmas Trees, Educating About Fire Safety

Recycling and fire safety don’t often get combined into one event. Yet here are:

On January 6th & 7th 2018, the Port Moody Firefighters Local 2399 held our 13th Annual Christmas Tree Chipping event at the Inlet Centre Fire Hall.  This was once again a successful year in which over $8,700 was raised for donation to the British Columbia Professional Firefighters Burn Fund.  These funds will be used to help purchase equipment to assist burn victims throughout British Columbia and to send the youth burn survivors to Burn Camp among other purposes.

In addition to collecting donations at this event, we held a display to show the dangers of open flames and other sources of heat near dry Christmas trees in order to demonstrate the importance of proper care and watering.  It is our hope that displays such as this help prevent further tragedies.  The rest of the trees are put through a wood chipper and put into large disposal containers where they are transported to a composting facility

Port Moody educating about fire safety with a christmas treeHarvest was pleased to support this effort by gratuitously taking in the tree chips to at our local composting facility.  Kudos to the Port Moody Firefighters for putting on such a successful event!

Here’s a video of the event.

Photo and video credit: Port Moody Firefighters


Mid Atlantic Nursery Trade Show (MANTS) – 2018

We had a great time this year connecting with partners and customers interested in our soils, mulches and specialty blends in the Mid-Atlantic market, as well as our premium Harvest Organics bagged products.

Psss — Do you know?  Our soil and mulch display booth is made of all east coast woods.  Pretty groovy.


Thanks so much to MANTS for yet again hosting an incredible event. If you liked these photos, check out our booth from MANTS 2017

If you carrot all about soil health, these puns walnut let you down

Have you been wining about low yields? Citrus down on that chair and let me squash your problems.

If you carrot all about soil health, lettuce almond your soil by raisin the bar for healthy soil.

So water your waiting for?

You butternut say it’s too expensive, because with the cashew make back on your increased yields, you can berry those costs in the dirt.

Like a bee puts nectarine in its hive, compost put nutrients directly in your soil. If your barley hanging in there with these puns, compost your comments on our website.

We walnut let you down.

~Created by Adam Pescatore

Photos from US Composting Council’s “Demo Days” in Los Angeles

The US Composting Council hosted its 25th annual conference in Los Angeles.  Harvest was a proud sponsor of the conference, and provided safety gear for the legendary “Demo Days” event at the City of Lopez Canyon Compost Facility. Ops attendees included Ted C., Chris F., Brent B., and Stewart M. Check out the beautiful scene in the following photos (photos thanks to Ted):

USCC 2017 - looking over windrows USCC 2017 - scarab turning and steam USCC 2017 - screeners USCC 2017 - spreading USCC 2017 - windrow close up USCC 2017 - windrow cover and steam USCC 2017 - windrow turning USCC 2017 - windrows and hils in distance USCC 2017 - windrows wtih scarab USCC 2017 - windrows USCC 2017 in front of Komtech USCC 2017


Rethink Methane: Getting Above the Crust

rethinkmethane-header-logo-logistics-850x100The “Rethink Methane: Removing the Fossil from the Fuel” conference in Sacramento hosted leading policymakers and businesses to discuss a key ingredient to a sustainable future: methane.  Historically we’ve used “prehistoric” methane created millions of years ago. It is time to shift to “contemporary” or “renewable” methane made in current-day times via the treatment of wastewater, organic waste, and other biological feedstocks.

DSC_1889 Chris Kasper at Rethink MethaneWhat we know:

  • Methane is a critical energy resource and will continue to be for the foreseeable future
  • Methane is also a powerful greenhouse gas, and reducing emissions of methane is central to any strategy to address climate protection
  • CA has recognized the importance of reducing methane emissions, and has laid out a strategy to do so in the recently published Proposed Short Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy
  • As the vast majority of the state’s methane emissions come from the decay of organic matter, in order to achieve a significant reduction in the contribution of methane to the state’s GHG inventory, these biological sources of methane need to be captured, harnessed and beneficially reused

The challenge that we face is how to, in the face of historically low fossil gas prices, develop a system of policies, programs and incentives that help address the legal and regulatory barriers that impede the development of renewable gas resources and encourage the production and consumption of this valuable energy resource in CA.

DSC_1916 Chris Kasper and Mary Nichols at Rethink MethaneThis is the purpose of Rethink Methane – to explore the impediments to harnessing renewable gas – the fugitive emissions of which have been identified as a major contributor to climate change – and to identify the actions that CA policymakers can and should take to discourage fugitive emissions, encourage beneficial reuse, encourage the substitution of renewable gas for fossil gas as much as possible, and encourage the substitution of renewable gas for fossil diesel wherever possible.

Highlight of the Day: Harvest CEO Chris Kasper introducing the “Queen of Green” and Chair of the California Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols.


Pumping Value out of Pumpkins: Food Waste Growth Markets

Pumpkins and Other Food WasteThe growth strategy firm, Innosight, published a piece, “The Food Waste Opportunity: How Experiments Can Open New Growth Markets.”  It explores the burgeoning food waste industry and highlights Harvest as a leader in providing organic management solutions.

Here’s one slice of the story:

This Cinderella transformation of discarded food is just one example of how marketplace experiments can help spur new growth markets. Venture capitalists are believers: Harvest Power has raised more than $350 million, making it one of the best-funded startups in New England.

And another bit:

Because food is an organic compound and readily biodegradable, one might assume that all this waste is not a major problem. However, consider this. Food takes resources to produce-water, land, fertilizer, energy. It’s heavy and expensive to transport. As food lies in a landfill, it decomposes and emits methane – a gas 25 times worse for climate change than carbon dioxide. Lastly and certainly not least, there is a high social cost.

Read the full article.

3 Easy Tricks to Love Your Lawn Naturally

Everyone likes a lush, green lawn that is safe for people, pets and children to lounge and play. Here’s a video with a few easy tips for you to love your lawn naturally.

Natural Lawn Care, So Pets and Children (and You!) Can Play Safely

As the video shows, there are three (3) easy things you can do to keep your lawn lush, naturally.

3 easy tricks to love your lawn naturallyTRICK #1: Trim the Top

Set your lawnmower blades on the highest setting. Also, aim to only cut the top 1/3 of the grass blades at any one time; otherwise the grass gets stressed.

Different grass species actually have preferred lengths. For example, cool season grasses (Fescues, Kentucky bluegrass) range from 1-4” high. Warm season grasses (St Augustine, Bermuda, Centipede, and Zoysia) vary from 0.75-3” high. Learn more about ideal heights to mow grass.

TRICK #2: Grasscycle!

Let the clippings land and return to the soil. Those tiny little bits can actually help nourish the soil: they typically break down within one to two weeks, and provide 15 to 20% or more of a lawn’s yearly nitrogen requirements. Learn more about grasscycling.

TRICK #3: Support Your Soil

Every fall and spring, spread a ¼” layer of compost or lawn soil. This layer – called a topdressing – helps support the soil structure, promotes good drainage, and stimulates microbial activity (that’s a good thing).

 A Few Other Tips for Natural Lawn Care

First, remember the four key components of healthy soil composition:

  • Mineral Soil (~45%)
  • Organic Matter (~5%)
  • Water (~25%)
  • Air (~25%)

Next, check out this case study of the lush soccer fields in Haddam, Connecticut – impressive root structure, all from topdressing with compost!

Finally, use these easy tips to keep your lawn happy:

watering your lawnWATERING YOUR LAWN: Use the Tuna Can Trick

If you’re going to water your lawn (or, ahem, frolic in a sprinkler), use a tuna fish can to roughly gauge how much water has fallen: place a tuna can on the grass when you turn on the sprinkler(s), and turn off the sprinkler(s) when the tuna can is full.

A few other tips around watering:

  • GO FOR DEEP, LESS OFTEN: Try to water well once per week rather than a few shallow sprinkles throughout the week. Then let the grass dry out completely over the week until you water deeply again. The roots will actually get more sturdy and robust during the dry period by searching for water compared to if you give them a few light sprinkles.
  • WATER IN THE MORNING OR EVENING: You’ll lose less water to evaporation.

screwdriver test for lawnsAERATING YOUR LAWN: Use the Screwdriver Trick to Test

If you’re curious about whether or not your lawn needs aeration, try the screwdriver trick: Wait until the soil is relatively dry – but not completely dry and hard – and test it with a screwdriver. If you can depress the screwdriver an inch or two easily, the soil probably has sufficient aeration. If it takes some bearing down, your lawn could probably use some “aerifying”. Learn more about how to aeate your lawn.