Types Of Berm Mulch – Should You Mulch Berms

Piles Of Berm Mulch
(Image credit: ejkrouse)

Berms are simple but helpful additions to the garden and landscape that can add interest, increase privacy, and help direct water to where it’s most needed. Is mulching berms necessary though? Keep reading to learn about berm mulch tips and ideas.

Is Mulching Berms a Good Idea?

What is a berm? A berm is a manmade mound of earth that serves some purpose in the landscape. Some berms are meant to create a sense of elevation in an otherwise flat garden or yard. Some are meant to retain or direct water, such as around a tree or away from a house. Some are meant just to create a rise in the landscape, subtly but effectively blocking out whatever is on the other side.

Do you really need to mulch berms? The simple answer is: yes. Berms are raised mounds of dirt, and raised mounds of dirt like nothing more than to be washed away by erosion. Berms are at their most effective (and their most attractive) with plants growing out of them. This makes them look good, and the roots of the plants help hold the soil intact against rain and wind.

Mulch is essential to fill in those spaces between the plants to keep the dirt from running away in little rivulets. It’s also excellent for retaining moisture when that is the purpose of your berm, such as if it’s built in a ring around a tree. Just remember stick to the ring and never to mulch up to the edge of the tree – those mulch volcanoes you see sometimes are bad news and should be avoided.

What is the Best Mulch for Berms?

The best mulch for berms is the kind that won’t wash or blow away easily. Shredded wood or bark are good bets, since their large pieces are relatively heavy and interlock well. They also make for a nice, natural look that blends in well with the landscape and doesn’t draw too much attention.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.