Landscaping With Black Mulch

Flower bed and planting bed ideas using decorative bark mulches

While I have used black decorative bark mulch in a few flower beds and borders, it's not a top choice of ground covers that I will use. It does have some cool applications where it helps define bed areas and add atmosphere to some themes such as Mediterranean yards. However, black bark mulch does carry a few problems with using it.

Black generates heat and in the case of a black ground cover, transfers the heat to the root zone of plants. In nature, most plants prefer a natural and cooler soil temperature. Depending on your area, black ground cover can generate and transfer enough heat to to the soil to kill plants and at least cuase poor growth and plant health.

black decorative flower bed bark mulch

As with all bark mulches and especially artificially colored mulch, the black fades over time and becomes unattractive. Another factor with black barks is how well they show white water stains. With just a little overspray from your sprinkler system, your flower beds will look dull, faded, and multi-colored within a few weeks.

While there are dyes available in many colors to restain decorative and even natural colored bark, it can be more of a hassle than it's worth. It can stain concrete, decorative landscape rocks, and other elements in your landscaping.

Another thing to consider is availability. All natural ground covers need to be replinished yearly. And while colored decorative barks and mulch are the exception rather than the norm, they may be difficult to locate from one year to the next.

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