What is Gold Mulch?

Kim Masters Evans
Kim Masters Evans
Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Gold mulch is mulch made from wood that is dyed a golden color. It is placed in layers a few inches (centimeters) thick around plants to improve their growing conditions and beautify the landscape. This light-colored mulch is popular around flowers, shrubs, and trees. Gold mulch is an environmentally friendly alternative to cypress mulch, which is naturally golden. The nontoxic dye used in gold mulch is not permanent and fades over time.

There are different types of mulch. Wood mulch is made by shredding or grinding up wood into small pieces. Natural mulch is made from tree bark and tree wood that has not been processed. Scrap lumber, old wooden pallets, and other pieces of processed wood are also used to make mulch. Gold mulch may be made from either natural wood or processed wood.

Mulch helps beautify a yard, garden, or landscape. It is spread around trees, shrubs, flowers, and other plants to show off the plants. Gold mulch looks especially good around green plants such as evergreen trees, ferns, and herbs.

Mulch has many practical benefits. It insulates the soil, retains moisture like a sponge, and provides a barrier against weed growth. It holds soil in place to keep it from washing away in heavy rains. It also prevents rain or sprinkled water from splashing dirt on the plants.

Natural mulch decomposes over time. This enriches the soil by adding nutrients to it. Mulch made from processed wood does not enrich the soil, because the wood has been treated to prevent decomposition.

Undyed mulch comes in just a few colors, mostly shades of gray and brown. Some woods, such as cedar, cypress, pine, and eucalyptus, naturally contain hints of red and yellow. Colored mulch comes in many colors. Black, red, gold, and brown are the most popular colors for gardening mulch and landscaping mulch.

Gold mulch is not the same as cypress mulch, though they are both golden in color. Cypress trees grow mostly in wetlands and swamps and live to be hundreds of years old. Cutting them down is controversial. Gold mulch is made from common trees, such as pine. Light-colored pine mulch can be easily dyed different shades of gold.

The dyes used in color-enhanced mulch are typically vegetable-based or mineral-based dyes that are not toxic to people, pets, or the environment. The dye can leach out of mulch from freshly opened bags. The bags should not be emptied directly onto a sidewalk or light-colored driveway, because the dye could stain these surfaces. A tarp should be put down first to prevent staining. Freshly spread colored mulch should not be watered or exposed to rain for at least a day.

All colored mulch loses its dye over time because of exposure to sunlight and water. In general, the colors fade away after several months. The colors can be refreshed by spraying on mulch dyes. These dyes come in a variety of colors, including gold.

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