How Long Does Bark Mulch Last?

Bark mulch and wood chippings are a great addition to any garden or landscaping project thanks to their versatility, affordability and quality. Keeping weeds and other unwanted plants away from your garden may feel like a never-ending task, but bark mulch and wood chippings are designed to do exactly that. 

In this guide, we explain how long bark mulch lasts in the garden, as well as discussing whether it goes bad and how often you should replace bark mulch or wood chipping.

What is bark mulch?

Bark mulch and wooding chippings are usually made from the bark of a spruce or pine tree, mixed in with other parts of organic matter. This process is done by shredding and chopping the bark into small pieces (often with an industrial garden shredder), then adding a small part of composted organic matter to create a nutritious and high-quality end product.

Depending on where you get your bark mulch, it will be graded based on its quality such as British Standard Play Fall Material (BSEN1177) and standard garden bark.

How long does bark mulch last?

As bark mulch and wood chippings are made from organic and natural materials, they will at some point in time deteriorate in health and quality. Gardeners will need to consider two factors when it comes to the ‘life span’ of bark mulch; its practical lifetime and aesthetic lifetime. 

Practical lifetime can be defined as how long the bark mulch will do its job for, and the aesthetic lifetime is how long it looks visually pleasing for. In general gardening terms, bark mulch and wood chippings will have a practical life span of 4 – 7 years and an aesthetic life span of 1 -2 years depending on the levels of usage. 

Does bark mulch go bad?

Some gardeners stay clear of bark mulch and wood chippings due to the misinformation of it being a short term fix in the garden or landscaping project. Bark mulch can last for up to 7 years, but this depends on environmental factors such as; direct sunlight, covering very damp ground etc, so it really does vary on a garden to garden basis.

Although bark mulch and wood chippings won’t go bad in a short space of time, they will decompose over time as it is a natural product. If you want to store a bulk bag of bark mulch for an upcoming project, you need to make sure it’s kept in a cool and dry place as this will help prevent mould and insects. Bad and gone-off mulch can negatively impact plant health and let weeds grow around your garden.

How often should I replace bark mulch and wood chippings?

Bark mulch and wood chippings can visually last for up to 2 years, meaning it’s recommended to replace or refresh the mulch in your garden after a year or so. You won’t need to replace all of the existing mulch as this will gradually decompose into the ground, but all you will need to do is add a top layer of wood chippings and make an even coverage. 

This will not only make the bark mulch look fresh, but it will retain all the nutritional and environmental value the existing mulch provides.

Where can I buy bark mulch?

Based in Hambledon, Hampshire, we can supply bark mulch for all those who are local to the Portsmouth area and further surrounding towns and cities. Alsoils+ have been servicing domestic and trade customers for over 35 years with the highest quality bark mulch, leaving you safe in the knowledge that we can cater for your needs.

Our bark mulches are both high-quality and affordable for all purposes. With their highly versatile and low maintenance nature, they are the ideal solution for a variety of gardening and landscaping needs.

About the Author

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The Alsoils Team

For more than three decades, Alsoils has been a trusted name in delivering superior soil, compost products and offering landscaping services. Based in Hampshire, Alsoils caters to a diverse clientele, including both homeowners and businesses. Our team are experts in all things gardening, so you can be sure you get the very best advice for topsoil, compost, manure and so much more!

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