Selecting Bark Mulch: Chunks, Nuggets, Or Shredded?

Different types of bark mulch.

Adding bark mulch to your garden can have many benefits. Depending on the type of garden you have, there are a few factors to keep in mind when deciding which type of mulch will look best and be the most efficient.

Bark mulches are one of the most popular forms of mulch because they have a lot of desirable characteristics. They will not become compacted like other forms, they are slightly heavier so they won’t blow around as much, and they look great with all types of plants.

Bark Chunks

Bark chunks are the most decorative type of mulch you can get. These are popular in ornamental gardens and areas that are very visible. Since chunks are more attractive, they tend to be more expensive. Some forms of bark mulch can be toxic to certain plants, so you will want to check in to this before you place any bark chunks.

Bark Nuggets

Bark nuggets are slightly smaller and less expensive than chunks. Since the nuggets are smaller they can be misplaced and blown away much easier than the chunks. This will require you to replenish it more often.

Shredded Bark

The shredded bark is generally the most inexpensive form of mulch. It’s not the most attractive, but it’s still very popular because of the cost. Since shredded bark is the lightest form of mulch, it will blow away. You will have to replenish this often. Shredded mulch can also cause damage to your plants because it’s a smaller form of mulch. It can, in some instances, penetrate roots and become toxic. Try to avoid using shredded bark on delicate plants.


Before you place any kind of mulch, there are a few things you may want to consider. Bark mulches can actually aid in the germination of seeds. If you have had a problem with weeds in the area you will want to spray the area with a weed treatment before you lay the mulch. If you get weeds after you’ve mulched you will have a much harder time ridding your garden of them.


If you plan on using mulch to aid in protecting the plants over the cold winter season you will want to place the mulch in plenty of time. It’s best to lay the mulch in late fall. This way the soil has cooled down, but hasn’t been subjected to freezing.

Tree Bases

If you have mulch placed around a tree or shrub that you plan on keeping there all year, you will want to make sure you pull the mulch back away from the base of the tree every fall. This will prevent the trunk from getting soft and weak.

Assure Evenness

You want to make sure the mulch is laid down evenly. If you have too much mulch in one area it will not insulate the plants and soil properly.