What Is Cypress Mulch: Using Cypress Mulch In Gardens

cypress mulch 1
cypress mulch 1
(Image credit: beekeepx)

If someone suggested you use cypress garden mulch, you might not know what they mean. What is cypress mulch? Many gardeners haven’t read up on cypress mulch information and, therefore, don’t know the benefits of this organic product - or the risks of using it. Read on for additional cypress mulch information, including the downside of using cypress mulch in gardens.

What is Cypress Mulch?

Mulch is any product you use on top of the soil to protect the roots of your plants. It can be chopped dead leaves, dried grass clippings or organic compost. Some people use shredded newspapers, gravel or plastic sheeting. The best mulches are organic and accomplish many jobs in the garden. They regulate the temperature of the soil, keeping it warmer in cold weather and cooler in heat. They lock moisture in the soil, keep weeds down and, ultimately, decompose into the soil and improve it. Cypress mulch is a term that refers to a mulch made from shredded cypress trees. Cypress garden mulch is an organic mulch made from pond cypress trees (Taxodium distichum var. nutans) and bald cypress trees (Taxodium distichum). The trees are ground into chips or shredded.

Using Cypress Garden Mulch

Cypress garden mulch is generally less expensive than many other organic mulches, and adds nutrients to the soil as it decomposes. It is also an effective mulch in preventing weed growth. However, putting cypress mulch in gardens has a very real dark side. Cypress forests are critical to the ecosystems of southern states such as Florida and Louisiana. They are key elements in wetlands and provide protections from storms. Unfortunately, logging has taken its toll on the cypress population. Virtually all old-growth cypress groves have been clear cut, and what is left is under attack by the cypress mulch industry. The wetlands in Florida and Louisiana are being cleared of cypress trees much faster than the rate cypress can naturally regrow. The use of this product could actually decrease the country’s cypress forests. The cypress mulch industry, in its eagerness to market its product, has suggested that you cannot do better than using cypress mulch in gardens. Many of the claims of its superiority turn out to be myths. For example, contrary to reports you might see in commerce, cypress mulch is no better than other wood chips at keeping down weeds and insects. Pine chips are just as good and do not endanger an ecosystem. In the long run, leaves, and straw from your yard or compost are usually better mulch choices for your plants.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.