Shredded Cedar Mulch – Tips On Using Cedar Mulch In Gardens

A texture shot of fresh wet garden wood chips or mulch with morning sunshine.
Image by suwanneeredhead

By Liz Baessler

Wood is a popular choice for garden mulch, and with its pleasant smell and pest deterrence, using cedar for mulch is especially helpful. Keep reading to learn about cedar mulch problems and cedar mulch benefits.

Can You Use Cedar Mulch in Vegetable Gardens?

With all mulch comes the danger of wind. In areas with very high winds, it may be best not to apply mulch at all. If it’s only a little wind you’re battling, shredded wood mulch resists getting blown away better than chips. That said, cedar sawdust has been shown to negatively affect young plants and should be avoided.

The problem with using any woody material as a mulch is that it draws essential nitrogen from the soil as it decomposes. It shouldn’t be much of a problem as long as the mulch stays on the soil’s surface, but once it is mixed into the soil, decomposition speeds up and is spread evenly through the soil.

Because of this, cedar mulch problems arise in beds that are tilled regularly, such as vegetable gardens. While using cedar for mulch won’t immediately damage your vegetables, it’s a good idea to restrict it to plants that won’t be tilled every year. This does include some vegetables, like rhubarb and asparagus, which are perennials.

Tips on Using Cedar Mulch in Gardens


Cedar mulch in gardens that contain perennials should be applied to a depth of 2-3 inches for vegetables and flowers, and 3-4 inches for trees. If you’re laying it down around trees, keep it 6 inches away from the trunk. While piling mulch up in hills around trees is popular, it’s actually very harmful and can discourage the natural widening of the trunk, making it more likely to be blown down by the wind.

For very compacted or clay-heavy soil, apply 3-4 inches to help retain moisture.

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